Biography: Floyd Little, RB

Floyd Little
Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little (44) runs upfield in a 16 to 10 Denver Broncos win over the Los Angeles Rams on November 12, 1972 at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)
Floyd Little, is one of the four original Denver Broncos Ring of Fame inductees from 1984 and joins John Elway and Frank Tripucka as one of three Broncos whose jersey number is retired.

A first-round (sixth overall) draft choice of the Broncos in 1967 from Syracuse University, Little was the first No. 1 draft pick ever signed by the Broncos and was widely regarded as “The Franchise” for much of his nine-year career in which he established himself as Denver’s first serious threat at running back.

A Pro Bowl participant from 1970-71 and in ‘73, Little twice played in the AFL All-Star Game (1968-69) and was named the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Pro Athlete of the Year in 1972. He finished his Broncos career ranked No. 1 on the fran- chise’s all-time list for rushing attempts (1,641), rushing yards (6,323) and rushing touch- downs (43), and he now ranks second in each behind Terrell Davis. Among professional football players from 1967-75, only O.J. Simpson totaled more rushing yards than Little, who also posted the fourth-most rushing scores in football during that time. He led Denver in rushing for seven consecutive seasons from 1967-73, marking the longest such streak in club history, and at the time of his retirement ranked seventh in NFL annals in career rushing yards.

In 1971, Little led the NFL in rushing with a career-best 1,133 yards after capturing the AFC rushing crown a year earlier with 901 yards in 1970. He set a Broncos career record with 54 total touchdowns (43 rush, 9 rec., 2 ret.) that currently rank fourth on their all-time list while finishing his career third on their all-time scoring list with 324 points (currently 10th). He also set a team record with 12,173 career all-purpose yards, a mark that stood until Rod Smith passed him in 2006, and finished his career as the Broncos’ all-time leader in career kickoff return yards (2,523—currently second).

A three-time All-American at Syracuse, Little followed in the footsteps of Jim Brown and Ernie Davis as a superstar tailback for the Orangemen. He shattered most of the records set by his predecessors, rushing for 2,704 yards, totaling 582 receiving yards, returning punts for 845 yards and kickoffs for 797 yards, and recording 19 passing yards—for a total of 4,947 yards.