Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio decided to change the practice schedule on Wednesday morning, instead of working the players through the late morning sun. The gesture didn't go unappreciated, as evidenced by the smiles from coaches and players as they departed the five buses lined up outside AMC Theatre in Jacksonville this morning. Del Rio decided to give the team the morning off to have a private viewing of the Disney sports movie "Invincible."
The NFL and Disney have a business and promotional partnership on the movie. NFL teams were extended an opportunity for a private viewing, and more than 16 have or will see it before its release on Aug. 25.
"A great movie, really good," Del Rio said. "It was well done. To me, I think it touches your soul a little bit if you're a football guy. Just having been in lockerrooms, as a player and as a coach, I thought they captured it: The emotions that you feel; the anxieties, the joys, the ups and the downs, the pressures you face – all those things. So, really well done."
Actor Mark Wahlberg stars in the inspiring true story about a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan who realizes that hard work and perseverance pay off with a roster spot on his hometown team. Walhberg, who plays Philadelphia native Vince Papale, is a 30-year old bartender who has his life turned upside down when his wife of five years leaves him. At the same time, wholesale changes are being made by his beloved Eagles.
After a lackluster season, the Eagles hire Dick Vermeil as their new head coach. In his opening press conference, Vermeil makes a shocking announcement that an open tryout at Veterans Stadium for interested players will take place. In a twist of fate, Wahlberg proves his worth at the tryout among hundreds of local hopefuls, earns a spot in training camp and eventually makes the opening day roster as a standout special teams performer.
"I really enjoyed it," Linebacker Nick Greisen said. "Mark Wahlberg did a great job. The whole theme of the movie was learning about the game of football and how it really is about heart, and not about who you are and what you can do on the field, but what you have inside of you that can push you."
Del Rio thought the viewing of the film came at right time as the Jaguars have a roster of 84 players in training camp with only 53 making the final roster in September.
"It was great timing for us because the story is about a local guy that gets a shot against all the odds and makes it, and obviously we have guys, we've been keeping guys, the undrafted college free agents that against all the odds have come in and made our team," Del Rio said. "So very appropriate this time of year to see a movie like that, and it was well done."