Based on the true story of Brandon Lang. The real Lang is in a scene greeting Matthew McConaughey.
Rene Russo's husband, Dan Gilroy, wrote the part of Al Pacino's wife Toni especially for Russo and tailored it to fit her perfectly. He even used Russo's real-life sister's name Toni as the name of the character.
At the time of the film's theatrical debut, the phone number featured on Walter's television show (1 800 BET ON IT) was the number of an actual sports advice service.
Much of the game footage shown during the trailer, and the ads for the DVD release of the film is real. They are clips from various USFL games. Several teams, The Tampa Bay Bandits, Boston/new Orleans/Portland Breakers, Houston Gamblers, among others can clearly be seen. The league existed from 1982-1987.
One of the movie's producers, David Robinson (the son of the owner of the studio that made the movie), and his wife, Susan Ward, appear in non-speaking, uncredited cameos in the movie's opening scenes.
Matthew McConaughey actually did play college football. And this is his first movie depicting a football college player.