Floyd Little

Floyd Douglas Little (born July 4, 1942) is a retired American football halfback,[1] and was a three-time All-American at Syracuse University. In 1967, he was the 6th selection of the first common AFL-NFL draft. He was the first ever first-round draft pick to sign with the American Football League's Denver 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.

Floyd Little
refer to caption
At his Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony in 2010.
No. 44
Personal information
Born:July 4, 1942 (age 76)
New Haven, Connecticut
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:196 lb (89 kg)
Career information
High school:New Haven (CT) Hillhouse
NFL Draft:1967 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:6,323
Rushing average:3.9
Rushing touchdowns:43
Receiving yards:2,418
Receiving touchdowns:9
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

College career

Little is the only three-time All-American running back to compete for the Syracuse University Orangemen.[2] He finished 5th in Heisman Trophy voting in both 1965 and 1966.

  • 1964: 157 carries for 874 yards and 9 touchdowns. 17 catches for 257 yards and 1 touchdown.[3]
  • 1965: 193 carries for 1065 yards and 14 touchdowns. 21 catches for 248 yards and 1 touchdown.
  • 1966: 162 carries for 811 yards and 12 touchdowns. 13 catches for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Professional career

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 all 9 seasons, including his rookie season.[4]

Little was a charter member of the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1984, which 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 [5] and the 13th player ever in professional football to rush for at least 1,000 yards in one season.[6] 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 that still stands.[7] 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, 1968–1973, Little rushed for more yards and more yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving) than any RB in the NFL.[8]

In 2009 Little was a finalist for induction into the Hall of Fame.[9] He was voted in on February 6, 2010, his induction took place in Canton, OH on August 7, 2010.[10]


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.[11] On May 15, 2016, Little received his honorary doctorate from Syracuse University in Humane Letters.

Awards and honors


Year Team Games Rushing Receiving
Attempts Yards Y/A TDs Rec Yards Y/R TDs
1967 Denver Broncos 13 130 381 2.9 1 7 11 1.6 0
1968 Denver Broncos 11 158 584 3.7 3 19 331 17.4 1
1969 Denver Broncos 9 146 729 5.0 6 19 218 11.5 1
1970 Denver Broncos 14 209 901 4.3 3 17 161 9.5 0
1971 Denver Broncos 13 284 1133 4.0 6 26 255 9.8 0
1972 Denver Broncos 14 216 859 4.0 9 28 367 13.1 4
1973 Denver Broncos 14 256 979 3.8 12 41 423 10.3 1
1974 Denver Broncos 14 117 312 2.7 1 29 344 11.9 0
1975 Denver Broncos 14 125 445 3.6 2 29 308 10.6 2
Career Denver Broncos 117 1641 6323 3.9 43 215 2418 11.2 9

See also


  1. ^ Legwold, Jeff (September 24, 2010). "Floyd Little receiving Hall of Fame ring at Sunday's Broncos game". Denver Post. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2010, The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith, p.60, Published by Time Inc.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 16, 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2010, The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith, p.60, Published by Time Inc.
  5. ^ Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2010, The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith, p.60, Published by Time Inc.
  6. ^ Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2010, The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith, p.63, Published by Time Inc.
  7. ^ As of 2017; See box score
  8. ^ Floyd Little's Tales from the Broncos Sideline by Floyd Little and Tom Mackie
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Sports Illustrated, July 26, 2010, The Unexpected Hero by Gary Smith, p.57, Published by Time Inc.
  12. ^ http://history.denverbroncos.com/category/ring-of-fame/
  13. ^ Ehalt, Bob. "Renaming of Athletic Center Means a Lot to Floyd Little." New Haven Register - Serving Greater New Haven, CT. September 10, 2011. Web. September 15, 2011. <http://nhregister.com/articles/2011/09/10/sports/doc4e6bba8add545752245303.txt?viewmode=fullstory>.

External links

1966 Gator Bowl

The 1966 Gator Bowl was a college football postseason bowl game that featured the Tennessee Volunteers and the Syracuse Orangemen.

1966 Syracuse Orangemen football team

The 1966 Syracuse Orangemen football team represented Syracuse University in the 1966 college football season. The Orangemen were led by 18th-year head coach Ben Schwartzwalder and played their home games at Archbold Stadium in Syracuse, New York. After losing their first two games of the season, Syracuse won the next eight games, finishing the regular season with a record of 8–2 and ranked 16th in the Coaches' Poll. They were invited to the 1966 Gator Bowl, where they lost to Tennessee.

1967 Denver Broncos season

The 1967 Denver Broncos season was the eighth season for the team in the American Football League (AFL). The team posted a record of three wins and eleven losses. They finished last in the AFL's Western division. Floyd Little was team captain in his rookie season.On August 5, the Broncos played the Detroit Lions in an exhibition game. The Broncos beat the Lions by a score of 13–7 and became the first AFL team to beat an NFL team.Before the season, the Broncos changed from orange helmets to blue helmets.

1970 Denver Broncos season

The 1970 Denver Broncos season was the team's 11th season in professional football and first in the National Football League (NFL) after the merger. The Broncos duplicated their record from the previous season with five wins, eight losses, and one tie. They placed last in the new AFC West. Floyd Little became the first player to lead his conference in rushing for a last place team.

1971 All-Pro Team

The following is a list of players that were named to the Associated Press All-Pro Team, the Newspaper Enterprise Association All-Pro team and the Pro Football Writers Association, and Pro Football Weekly All-Pro teams in 1971. Both first- and second- teams are listed for the NEA, and PFWA teams. These are the four All-Pro teams that are included in the Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League and compose the Consensus All-pro team for 1971.

1971 Denver Broncos season

The 1971 Denver Broncos season was the team's 12th season in professional football and second in the National Football League (NFL). The team finished the season with four wins, nine losses, and one tie. They once again finished fourth in the AFC West. Floyd Little became the 13th player ever in professional football to rush for at least 1,000 yards in one season.

1974 Denver Broncos season

The 1974 Denver Broncos season was the team's 15th year in professional football and its fifth with the National Football League (NFL). The team finished the season with a winning record for the second straight season with seven wins, six losses, and one tie.

Al Verdel

Albert Alfred Verdel (June 10, 1921 – April 16, 1991), nicknamed "Stumpy", was a Major League Baseball pitcher. The right-hander appeared in one game for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1944. The 23-year-old rookie was a born in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He resided in the Trenton, New Jersey, and Bordentown, New Jersey, area for most of his life before retiring to Sarasota, Florida. After his playing career, he coached baseball and football at Bordentown Military Institute and Football at Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. During his coaching career, he had the opportunity to coach athletes who went on to play MLB (Chris Short and Lee Elia, who were also with the Phillies organization) and the NFL (Floyd Little). He also continued his affiliation with the Phillies organization as a field representative.

Verdel is one of many ballplayers who only appeared in the major leagues during World War II. His only major league action came on April 20, 1944, in a home game against the Brooklyn Dodgers at Shibe Park. He entered the game in the top of the 9th and hurled one perfect inning of relief in the 8–2 loss. His lifetime earned run average stands at 0.00.Verdel died at the age of 69 in Sarasota, Florida.

Ben Schwartzwalder

Floyd Benjamin Schwartzwalder (June 2, 1909 – April 28, 1993) was a Hall of Fame football coach at Syracuse University, where he trained future National Football League stars such as Jim Brown, Larry Csonka, Floyd Little and Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.

Schwartzwalder played center at West Virginia University, despite weighing only 146 pounds, and was an all-campus wrestler in 1930 in the 155-pound weight class. He was captain of the football team in 1933.

Bordentown Military Institute

The Bordentown Military Institute was a private high school in Bordentown, New Jersey, United States, from 1881 to 1973.

Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos are a professional American football franchise based in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos compete as a member club of the National Football League (NFL)'s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. They began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and joined the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. The Broncos are owned by the Pat Bowlen trust and currently play home games at Broncos Stadium at Mile High (formerly known as Invesco Field at Mile High from 2001–2010 and Sports Authority Field at Mile High from 2011–2017). Prior to that, they played at Mile High Stadium from 1960 to 2000.

The Broncos were barely competitive during their 10-year run in the AFL and their first seven years in the NFL. They did not complete a winning season until 1973. In 1977, four years later, they qualified for the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and advanced to Super Bowl XII. Since 1975, the Broncos have become one of the NFL's most successful teams, having suffered only seven losing seasons. They have won eight AFC Championships (1977, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1997, 1998, 2013, 2015), and three Super Bowl championships (1997 (XXXII), 1998 (XXXIII), 2015 (50)), and share the NFL record for most Super Bowl losses (5 — tied with the New England Patriots). They have nine players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: John Elway, Floyd Little, Shannon Sharpe, Gary Zimmerman, Willie Brown, Tony Dorsett, Terrell Davis, Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey.

Hillhouse High School

James Hillhouse High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school in New Haven, Connecticut. It serves grades 9–12.

James Hillhouse High School is the oldest public high school in New Haven, and is part of the New Haven Public Schools.

List of Denver Broncos first-round draft picks

The Denver Broncos are a professional American football team based in Denver, Colorado. They are members of the American Football Conference West Division in the National Football League (NFL). The franchise was formed on August 14, 1959 to compete in the American Football League (AFL). The first AFL Draft was held three months later. The last AFL draft the Broncos participated in was the 1966 draft, due to them joining the NFL as part of the AFL–NFL merger on June 8, 1966.The Broncos first participated in the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting, more commonly known as the NFL Draft, in 1967. In the NFL Draft, each NFL franchise annually seeks to add new players to its roster. Teams are ranked in reverse order based on the previous season's record; the worst record picks first, the second-worst picking second and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades.The Broncos selected Roger LeClerc, a placekicker from Trinity College, in the 1960 AFL Draft. In their first NFL Draft, the Broncos selected Floyd Little, a running back from Syracuse University. The Broncos have selected players from the University of Nebraska, University of Florida, and University of Tennessee three times each, the most from any university in the first-round. The team's most recent selections were Tim Tebow, a quarterback from Florida University and Demaryius Thomas, wide receiver from Georgia Tech. Three selections, Floyd Little, Merlin Olsen and Bob Brown, were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and 2004, respectively. In 1991, Mike Croel became the first Bronco to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, receiving 68 out of 82 votes.The Broncos' latest first-round pick is University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, who they picked 26th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.

List of people from Connecticut

The following is a list of notable people born, raised, or resident in Connecticut, with place of birth or residence when known.

Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award

The Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award is an American college football award given annually by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston to "the player who by his conduct on and off the gridiron demonstrates a high esteem for the football code and exemplifies sportsmanship to an outstanding degree" among northeastern colleges and universities. In 1982, the award was narrowed to the player deemed to be the "very best, and most academically talented, college football player in New England." Since 1989, the award has been given annually to two players (with the exception of a single winner in 1996 and three winners in 2007), one from a Division I football program, and one from a small college.The award is the fourth oldest collegiate football award in the United States, following the Heisman, Maxwell, and George "Bulger" Lowe trophies.The award is named for the founder of the Gridiron Club, Nils V. "Swede" Nelson, a former college player at Harvard and coach. Nelson was a member of the unbeaten Harvard football team that defeated Oregon in the 1920 Rose Bowl.

The inaugural winner of the trophy was quarterback Perry Moss of Illinois in 1946. Other notable winners of the award include Doak Walker (1949), Johnny Bright (1951), Floyd Little (1966), Dick Jauron (1971), Otis Armstrong (1972), Tom Waddle (1988), Jay Fiedler (1992), Matt Hasselbeck (1997), and Mark Herzlich (2009).

Syracuse Football All-Century Team

The Syracuse Football All-Century Team features the top 44 football players from the 20th century at Syracuse University. The team features a Heisman Trophy winner, nine members of the College Football Hall of Fame, and seven other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The All-Century Team includes players from eight different decades. The criteria for selecting the team included all players who significantly impacted Syracuse football with special consideration for those who were either members of the Hall of Fame, were named as All-Americans, or who had played in the NFL. Nominees for the ballot were selected by the prominent figures associated with the Syracuse University football program.

Syracuse Orange football

The Syracuse Orange, known traditionally as the "Syracuse Orangemen", represent 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).

Formed in 1889, the program has over 700 wins and has achieved 1 consensus Division I Football National Championship, winning the championship game over the Texas Longhorns in the 1960 Cotton Bowl Classic, for the 1959 season. Syracuse has had 2 undefeated seasons, 5 conference championships since 1991, and has produced a Heisman Trophy winner, over 60 first team All-Americans, 18 Academic All-Americans including Academic All-America Hall of Fame inductee Tim Green, and over 240 NFL players. Syracuse has had 18 members inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, 2nd-most in the ACC, including former players Ernie Davis, Tim Green, Don McPherson, Art Monk and former coaches Vic Hanson, Ben Schwartzwalder, and Dick MacPherson. The Orange boast 8 inductees in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, tied for the 4th-most of any school, including Jim Brown, Marvin Harrison, Larry Csonka, and Floyd Little.The Orange have 26 bowl appearances, 10 of which are among the New Year's Six Bowls. Syracuse has finished in the Final Top 25 rankings 21 times in the national polls, and finished in either the AP or Coaches Polls a combined 35 times since 1952. Syracuse has appeared in over 200 AP Polls including 7 weeks at AP number one.

The Orange play their home games in Carrier Dome on the university's campus. The stadium is also known as "The Loud House", as when it opened in September 1980, it was made clear just how loud it was inside; and so the soon famous nickname was coined.

Syracuse Orange football statistical leaders

The Syracuse Orange football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Syracuse Orange football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Orange represent Syracuse University in the NCAA's Atlantic Coast Conference.

Although Syracuse began competing in intercollegiate football in 1889, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1946. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1946, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

Bowl games only began counting toward single-season and career statistics in 2002. The Orange have played in five bowl games since then, giving many recent players an extra game to accumulate statistics.These lists are updated through the end of the 2018 season.

Floyd Little—awards and honors

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