To spice things up for his organization, newly-hired Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil decides to hold open tryouts in 1976 for a spot on the pro football team's roster. Vince Papale is a 30-year-old bartender who has just lost his part-time teaching job. He had gone to Saint Joseph's University on a track scholarship. Disgusted with his professional failure, his wife abruptly leaves him, taking all of their furniture with her and leaving a note saying that he never will be anything in the world.
With the support of all his friends from the neighborhood, Papale, goes out for an open tryout practice; catching the attention of coach Vermeil, he is invited to come along to training camp. Papale eventually makes the team, and after a dismal display in the opening game of the season, in the second regular season game versus the New York Giants, he recovers a fumble and returns it for a touchdown, which leads to Vermeil's first victory with the Eagles.