|Born:||July 4, 1942|
New Haven, Connecticut
|Died:||January 1, 2021 78) (aged|
Las Vegas, Nevada
|Height:||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Weight:||196 lb (89 kg)|
|High school:|| Hillhouse |
(New Haven, Connecticut)
|NFL Draft:||1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Floyd Douglas Little (July 4, 1942 – January 1, 2021)was an American professional football player who was a halfback for the Denver Broncos, initially in the American Football League (AFL) and later the National Football League (NFL). He was a three-time All-American at Syracuse University, and in 1967 was the sixth selection of the 1967 NFL/AFL draft, the first common draft. He was the first first-round draft pick to sign with the AFL's Broncos, where he was known as "the Franchise". Little was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.
Little was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on July 4, 1942.He attended the Hillhouse High School in New Haven and the Bordentown Military Institute in Bordentown, New Jersey.
Little was recruited by Gen. Douglas MacArthur to play football at the United States Military Academy and had told him that he'd ascend to the rank of general if he enrolled at West Point. He was also recruited by the University of Notre Dame.Little ultimately chose to attend Syracuse at the persuasion of first African-American Heisman winner Ernie Davis. Little is the only three-time All-American running back to have played for the Syracuse University Orangemen.
Little played for Syracuse for three seasons. In 1964 he made 157 carries for 874 yards and 9 touchdowns and 17 catches for 257 yards and 1 touchdown. In 1965 he made 193 carries for 1,065 yards and 14 touchdowns and 21 catches for 248 yards and 1 touchdown. In 1966 he made 162 carries for 811 yards and 12 touchdowns and 13 catches for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.Little finished 5th in Heisman Trophy voting in both 1965 and 1966.
In 1975, Little retired as the NFL's 7th all-time leading rusher with 6,323 yards rushing and 54 total touchdowns (rushing, receiving and returns). He also threw a touchdown pass to receiver Jerry Simmons in a 1972 upset over the Oakland Raiders. During his rookie year, Little led the NFL in punt returns with a 16.9-yard average. He led the NFL in combined yards in 1967 and 1968. Little was Denver Broncos' team captain in all of his 9 seasons with the team, including his rookie one.
Little was a charter member of the Broncos' Ring of Fame in 1984, which also included; Rich Jackson, Lionel Taylor, and Goose Gonsoulin. He was the first Bronco to win a rushing title, leading the AFC in rushing in 1970 with 901 yards and the following year he became the first Bronco to eclipse 1,000 yards, gaining 1,133 to lead the NFL. Little was the first player to lead his conference in rushing for a last-place team and the 13th player ever in professional football to rush for at least 1,000 yards in one season. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1968. In a week 12 win over Buffalo, he caught 4 passes out of the backfield for 165 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, setting a franchise record of 41.25 yards per reception which still stands. He was named first-team "All-AFL" in 1969, and made the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in 1970, 1971, and 1973. At 5′10″ and 195 pounds, Little was the smallest back to lead the league in rushing since World War II. He led the league in combined yards in 1967 and 1968 and was the only player to return punts for touchdowns in both seasons. During a 6-year period, 1968 to 1973, Little rushed for more yards and more yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving) than any running back in the NFL.
Little acquired his nickname "the Franchise" because his decision to sign with the AFL's Broncos was credited with generating sufficient fan interest to keep the team from relocating in the 1960s, and with helping to convince Denver voters to approve funding for the purchase and expansion of Mile High Stadium.
In 2009 Little was a finalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.He was voted in on February 6, 2010, his induction took place in Canton, Ohio, on August 7, 2010. Little is one of four players in the Super Bowl era to make the Hall of Fame without ever playing a postseason game.
From July 2011 to June 2016, Little served as the Special Assistant to the Athletic Director at Syracuse University.
Little's jersey number, 44, was retired by the Broncos in 1975 in his honor and by the Syracuse football program on November 12, 2005, to honor Little, Ernie Davis, and Jim Brown, and the eight other players who wore the number. Little was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.He was inducted into the Denver Broncos' Ring of Fame on October 1, 1984. On August 7, 2010, Little was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, John Randle, and Dick LeBeau. On September 15, 2011, the New Haven Athletic Center, billed as the largest scholastic athletics facility in New England, was renamed the Floyd Little Athletic Center. On May 15, 2016, Little received his honorary doctorate from Syracuse University in Humane Letters. On May 17, 2019, Little was awarded the University of Denver's Distinguished Alumni Award and on May 18, 2019, Little was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws as speaker at DU's Sturm College of Law's commencement ceremonies. Syracuse's football practice facility has a bronze statue of Little alongside Jim Brown and Ernie Davis.
Little lived with his wife DeBorah in Las Vegas.Little finished 40th in his class of 140 at the University of Denver law school, from which he received his masters in legal administration degree in 1975. Little owned automobile dealerships in Denver, the Seattle area and Santa Barbara. In May 2020, his former Syracuse teammate Pat Killorin announced that Little had been fighting cancer.
Little died on January 1, 2021, at the age of 78.
Floyd Little is portrayed by actor Chadwick Boseman in the 2008 Universal Pictures film The Express: The Ernie Davis Story , a biographical film about Syracuse University Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis.
John Albert Elway Jr. is an American professional football executive and former quarterback who is the president of football operations for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL).
Anthony Drew Dorsett is a former American football running back who played professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos.
Peyton Williams Manning is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 18 seasons. Considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, he spent 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and four with the Denver Broncos. Manning is also one of the NFL's most recognizable players, earning the nickname "the Sheriff" due to his tendency to audible prior to the snap. The second son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and older brother of former NFL quarterback Eli Manning, he played college football at Tennessee, with whom he won the 1997 SEC Championship Game and earned MVP honors.
Terrell Lamar Davis is an American former professional football player who was a running back for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL) from 1995 to 2001. He is the Denver Broncos all-time leading rusher and still holds the record for most postseason single-season touchdowns (8), arguably the greatest postseason for a running back in NFL history. He is also credited with starting the “Mile High Salute”; a celebratory tradition among Denver Broncos players after scoring a touchdown. Davis was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Roland "Champ" Bailey Jr. is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Georgia, where he earned consensus All-America honors, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He is the brother of former NFL linebacker Boss Bailey.
Timothy Donell Brown is an American former professional football player who was a wide receiver in the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, where he won the Heisman Trophy. He spent sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, during which he established himself as one of the NFL's greatest wide receivers of all time. Brown has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2015, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
George Washington Rogers Jr. is a former American college and professional football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons during the 1980s. Rogers played college football for the University of South Carolina, earned All-America honors, and won the 1980 Heisman Trophy. He was the first overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins of the NFL. As a professional, Rogers rushed for over 7,000 yards.
Robert William "Rob" Lytle was an American football player.
Francis Joseph Tripucka was an American collegiate and professional football quarterback, at Notre Dame, in the National Football League, in the Canadian Football League, and in the early American Football League.
The 1967 National Football League draft was conducted March 14–15, 1967, at the Gotham Hotel in New York City. It was the first common draft with the AFL, part of the AFL–NFL merger agreement of June 1966.
Richard Samuel Jackson is a former American football player. He played college football for Southern University. Jackson played for the American Football League's Oakland Raiders in 1966 and the AFL Denver Broncos from 1967 through 1969. He played for the NFL Broncos in 1970 through 1971, and the NFL Cleveland Browns in 1972. Jackson was All-Pro in 1969 and 1970.
The 1960 National Football League Draft in which NFL teams take turns selecting amateur college American football players and other first-time eligible players, was held at the Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia on November 30, 1959. Many players, including half of those drafted in the first round, signed with teams in the newly created American Football League, including the first overall pick and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon. At the time of the draft, the Cardinals were still the Chicago Cardinals; they moved to St. Louis in March 1960. The Dallas Cowboys were enfranchised in January 1960 after the draft.
The Syracuse Orange football team represents Syracuse University in the sport of American football. The Orange compete in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).
James Francis Whalen, Jr. was a professional American football tight end.
Timothy Richard Tebow is an American football tight end for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL) and a former professional baseball player. He played college football as a quarterback for the University of Florida, winning the Heisman Trophy in 2007 and appearing on BCS National Championship-winning teams during the 2006 and 2008 seasons. In the National Football League, Tebow played quarterback for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. He also played minor league baseball as an outfielder in the New York Mets organization. Tebow is known for his outspoken Christian faith as well as his athletic prowess.
Melvin Gordon III is an American football running back for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Wisconsin, and was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Devontae Booker is an American football running back for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Utah. He was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Isaiah McKenzie is an American football wide receiver and utility player for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia, and was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
James Earl Wright was a gridiron football defensive back and quarterback who played in the American Football League and the Canadian Football League. He played college football at Memphis.
Javonte Williams is an American football running back for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at North Carolina and was drafted by the Broncos in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.