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Old 10-18-2012, 05:32 AM   #1
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Default Meeting "44" 44 years later

November 24, 1968 was a cold day in Denver. That afternoon I sat with my friend Greg in the South Stands at what was then called "Bears Stadium" watching the Denver Broncos-Buffalo Bills game. We had bought season tickets to the Broncos that summer at what seemed at the time to be a high price for a 12 year old - $2 per ticket!



As two sixth graders we loved attending Bronco games that season. Denver did not have a very good team, but we enjoyed the excitement of going to the games. On this day we were happy as the clocked ticked down with under a minute to play and our beloved Broncos ahead 31-29, running out the clock.



Suddenly Broncos star running back #44 Floyd Little fumbled! A Buffalo player picked up the ball and was tackled deep in Denver territory. The Bills kicked a field goal to go ahead 32-31. A tear came to my eye as I sat shivering in section CC row 39 of the South Stands. There was nothing more important to this 12 year old than seeing the Broncos win, and with 23 seconds left a Buffalo victory looked to be certain.



But Floyd Little had other plans. The Broncos got the ball back on their own 31 yard line. Time for one or two plays at most. I watched as diminutive Broncos quarterback Marlin Briscoe, at 5'10" short by NFL standards, threw the ball as deep and far as he could. The ball seemed to hang in the air forever as it came towards us in the South Stands. Little dived and caught the ball, tumbling to the Bills' 10 yard line. Bobby Howfield kicked a field goal and Denver won 34-32!



I was so happy I saved the Denver Post sports section the next day - I always wanted to remember this great Bronco victory. "If I hadn't caught that ball," said Floyd in that 1968 game story, "I don't know if I would have had to quit football or not. I'd have had to do a lot of thinking." It turns out Floyd was "fired" by Bronco coach Lou Saban after he had fumbled, and he ran back onto the field, against Saban's orders, to make the winning play. I still have that paper, worn and tattered over the years.









On Tuesday night I met Floyd Little in person for the first time in my life. He was appearing at the Denver Broncos Quarterback Club (DBQC) to promote and sign copies of his new book, Promises To Keep. As a board member of the DBQC I handled the negotiations with Floyd's publisher to setup this meeting. I was thrilled when I got to sit next to Floyd at dinner!



I pulled out that old paper and showed it to Floyd, telling him the story of me being in the South Stands that day. He said, "You ought to put that in plastic!" We chatted for 10 to 15 minutes. "44 years ago was when Lou Saban fired you," I said. Floyd's eyes lit up. "44 years? You're right! I'm going to use that in my interviews tomorrow!" We reimnisced about some of the great games in his Bronco career. "Lou Saban's last win as Broncos coach, where you beat the Browns 27-0 in Cleveland was a good one," I said. "That game meant a lot to Lou - he used to play for the Browns," Floyd replied. I didn't know that!



Floyd was very gracious at the meeting. He made a point to visit each table and greet the 80 fans in attendance. After I had my 1 to 1 talk with Floyd over dinner he spoke to the group for an hour, telling of his life (chronicled in his new book) and answering questions. "I played with 50 offensive linemen and 27 different quarterbacks in Denver," Floyd said. "I'd be great if I played today. Back then some of my best runs were just to get back to the line of scrimmage!"



Floyd told us a number of stories. How the Jets wanted to draft him at pick #9 of the first round and give him the same salary that Joe Namath got as a rookie ($400,000). Instead Denver selected him at pick #6 and he signed for $10,000. How Mean Joe Greene, the Hall of Fame Pittsburgh defensive lineman, told Floyd after Floyd was selected to the Hall, "you were the best football player I ever played against - not just the best running back - but the best football player, period. Congrats."



Sadly, Floyd is still bothered by the lack of respect he got from the press during his playing days. He told us of an appearance at the Pro Bowl in the early 70's where the press mostly ignored his accomplishments. And that continues to this day, as Sports Illustrated's Peter King called Floyd after the 2010 Pro Football Hall Of Fame selections were announced to say, "I didn't vote for you."



If I were to give advice to Floyd, I'd say don't focus on these negative reporters, and on anyone who says you don't belong in the Hall of Fame. Instead think of all the Denver area kids you were an inspiration to, like myself, with your never-give-up positive attitude and tremendous skills on the football field. Floyd continues to be an inspiration to young people today, as he is an assistant to the Athletic Director at his alma mater - Syracuse University.




PS For more on that 1968 Bills/Broncos game watch a video that I recorded from a 1980 TV special and put on you tube awhile back where Floyd and Lou Saban talk about that game.



Thanks to Tom Mackie (Moops), Floyd's co-author, for his assistance in connecting me to Triumph Books to setup this meeting.



This is a copy of a post I put on my sportsblog.

Last edited by titan; 10-18-2012 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:41 AM   #2
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I'm guessing Floyd needs a better PR person

His PR firm scheduled his kickoff book signing at the fame Tattered Cover downtown for Monday Oct 15th

My guess is he got about a 30% turnout when 90% of his target audience is watching the greatest comeback in MNF history.

Hopefully he gets another shot to sell his book
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:49 AM   #3
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Good read...thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:54 AM   #4
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Great story. Thanks.
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Old 10-18-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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Probably going to get flamed for saying this.

Obviously, I wasn't around back in the Floyd Little days, but I love Broncos history, and he sounds like he was an incredible football player. I would've LOVED to have seen him in his heyday...he sounded very Barry Sanders-esque in terms of his potential vs the talent surrounding him. I know he was an integral part of our organization, and a once in a generation talent.

What really bothers me, is how every time I've seen his name brought up recently, it seems to coincide with a lot of b****ing. He wasn't recognized. He was under appreciated. The organization didn't give him his dues. He was trashed by the media. Etc etc.

IF he's the one that's been on this crusade to make known his rejections/dismissals, it makes me feel like he's just a bitter man. Yes, I understand that according to all of the recent stories, got the short end of the stick. BUT, with an apparent "eff you recognize me" campaign in full effect, it takes away from his stellar career.

Now, every time I read an article...I go from "man, this guy was INCREDIBLE" to "holy ****, this guy just needs to let it go".

Just my .02 cents.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boobs McGee View Post
Probably going to get flamed for saying this.

Obviously, I wasn't around back in the Floyd Little days, but I love Broncos history, and he sounds like he was an incredible football player. I would've LOVED to have seen him in his heyday...he sounded very Barry Sanders-esque in terms of his potential vs the talent surrounding him. I know he was an integral part of our organization, and a once in a generation talent.

What really bothers me, is how every time I've seen his name brought up recently, it seems to coincide with a lot of b****ing. He wasn't recognized. He was under appreciated. The organization didn't give him his dues. He was trashed by the media. Etc etc.

IF he's the one that's been on this crusade to make known his rejections/dismissals, it makes me feel like he's just a bitter man. Yes, I understand that according to all of the recent stories, got the short end of the stick. BUT, with an apparent "eff you recognize me" campaign in full effect, it takes away from his stellar career.

Now, every time I read an article...I go from "man, this guy was INCREDIBLE" to "holy ****, this guy just needs to let it go".

Just my .02 cents.
this
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Old 10-18-2012, 11:30 AM   #7
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I love what I have read so far from "Promises" Floyd has some great storys and he tells them very well.

I will always have that 1st crush type feeling for Floyd and will always respect him.

I know I have told this story before but my dad had to work 2 jobs while we lived in Denver, he worked 9-5 Monday-Friday then 7-7 Sat and Sun where he was a bank guard for 1st of Denver. Some Sundays my dad would take me and my fondest memories are hearing Larry Zimmer calling the games on the radio as we walked the rounds of the 16(or more) story building with the sun setting as we got to the upper floors and me trying to peer into mile high with no luck. We were usually losing and Zimmer would be talking about how if they could just get the ball into Floyd's hands we would have a shot at winning.

Floyd to me was about hope and determination. I remember how the city reacted when he played his last game at Mile High. I kept his picture framed that I cut out from the Sunday paper the next week hung over my light switch in every house we moved to until it got lost in the last move.

Floyd has a right to b****, this is his last go around, I do hope he gets to meet the true fans who saw him play and know what he meant to the entire city of Denver.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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Great story!

Floyd was great for Denver, and I have no problem with him trying to make some money while his name is relevant currently.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:28 PM   #9
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[QUOTE"



Sadly, Floyd is still bothered by the lack of respect he got from the press during his playing days. He told us of an appearance at the Pro Bowl in the early 70's where the press mostly ignored his accomplishments. And that continues to this day, as Sports Illustrated's Peter King called Floyd after the 2010 Pro Football Hall Of Fame selections were announced to say, "I didn't vote for you."

PETER KING YOU ARE A PRICK !!!!
i think bronco fans should boycott that poor excuse of a magazine til peter king is fired and banned from voting and banned from sports writing.
i wont ever buy another sports illustrated ever again til that prick is unemployed
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #10
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Peter King is scum with a personal agenda and should be called out more for what he did.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:09 PM   #11
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well i will never buy SI magazine ever again til peter king is fired and barred from voting
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAN_BRONCO_FAN View Post
well i will never buy SI magazine ever again til peter king is fired and barred from voting
people still buy SI? Seems very 90s to me.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
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people still buy SI? Seems very 90s to me.
shh dont tell any one this but...
i havent bought a si magazine since the broncos won the superbowl and then only the superbowl edition one
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