Against All Odds: Inspiration for TV Series “All American” — From NFL to Hollywood, Spencer Paysinger


“The biggest game of my life wasn’t between chalked white lines. It was actually navigating both sides of the tracks of Los Angeles.

Episode Description

The underdog South Central LA native attended Beverly Hills High School via a permit, the start of an unlikely story that inspired the CW television Series All American. But the against-all-odds nature of Spencer Paysinger’s (@pysngr) story didn't end there.

The undrafted rookie won a Super Bowl with the NY Giants in the season following a heartbreaking loss on a last second field goal with Oregon in their first ever national championship game.

On this episode, you’ll hear the behind the scenes underdog account of Spencer’s incredible and inspiring story of how he made his big jump from the NFL to Hollywood.

Guest Info

With a goal to leave the NFL before age 30, Spencer taught himself screenwriting as an escape from football – a hobby that would lead him to pitch the premise for the television series All American, inspired by his life story, which was green lit, and debuts in primetime less than ten months after the 7-year NFL linebacker hung up his cleats.


Show Links

Show Notes

  • Earliest memory playing sports — letting the team down [5:08]

  • Derek Brooks, a childhood hero [6:12]

  • Growing up in South Central LA [7:31]

  • A unique sense of community [8:45]

  • The Paysinger Family [9:48]

  • Spencer, the middle child [11:11]

  • A football dad [12:00]

  • Beverly Hills High School — a Paysinger family tradition [12:35]

  • Code-switching — seeing the good and bad [16:30]

  • Creating a sense of belonging [20:35]

  • Becoming serious about football [22:13]

  • From offense to defense — ending up at the University of Oregon [23:33]

  • The chance to walk away from it all — corporate America calls [25:50]

  • From undrafted to the New York Giants [29:06]

  • Special team’s rookie [32:07]

  • From rookie to the Superbowl [32:41]

  • Spencer’s journey [34:40]

  • A cautionary tale — retiring by the age of thirty [36:47]

  • Seeing through a decision [39:37]

  • Retirement [42:08]

  • Tuesday movie therapy [44:22]

  • A producer role [46:19]

  • From idea to ‘All-American’ [49:30]

  • The pedestal [54:19]

  • Breaking stereotypes [57:00]

  • Beyond ‘All-American’ [59:49]

  • Afterball LLC Investment Firm [1:00:26]

  • What aspect of yourself are you working on? [1:03:41]

  • Advice to high school Spencer [1:07:24]

People Mentioned

David GardnerSeason 2