“The Franchise,” Floyd Little, lived up to his nickname over the course of his career producing big numbers as one of the premier running backs in football.
During Little’s days in Syracuse and then with the Denver Broncos, he compiled an impressive resume. He was a three time all-American, a Player of the Year, sixth overall draft pick, five time Pro Bowler, and later a College Football Hall of Famer.
Little’s likeness even made an appearance in the film, “The Express,” in a scene depicting how Syracuse legend Ernie Davis helped recruit Little to his Alma mater.
Something has been missing on Little’s impressive list of accolades though. That something is a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
It appears that he is finally about to see that change though.
Floyd Little, along with former Lions great Dick LeBeau, was nominated as a senior candidate to enter the Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
"My wife and I just looked at one another, and we both saw tears in our eyes," Little said after hearing the news. "We talked about how my son Marc wrote a letter to The Denver Post 25 years ago, explaining my disappointment (with not being elected) and to ask, 'Why?' So after 25 years, it's hard to believe this is happening."
Like any other nominee, Little still needs to receive an 80 percent positive vote for inclusion, but history suggests he stands a very good chance. Since 1996, 16 of the 18 senior candidates nominated have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Little was one of the first great all-purpose backs in the NFL. When he retired from the league in 1975, after playing his entire career with the Broncos, Little had amassed 6,323 yards and 43 touchdowns on the ground as well as 2,418 yards and nine touchdowns receiving. Including punt and kickoff returns, he finished his career with over 12,000 all-purpose yards.
When his career ended, Little was seventh all-time in rushing yards behind Jim Brown, Jim Taylor, Joe Perry, O.J. Simpson, Leroy Kelly, and John Henry Johnson; all of whom are already included in the hall.
With his induction seeming almost inevitable now, Little should become the seventh inductee to the hall with ties to Syracuse, including his former teammate Larry Csonka. Syracuse is currently one of only nine schools to have at least six alumni in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It’s all up to the voters now, but the hard part may be done. Little, for what it’s worth, appears to be optimistic, "Hopefully the next step is easy and we can all celebrate together in Canton.”