Floyd Little, NFL Hall of Famer, Dead at 78

by Emily Morgan

NFL Hall of Famer and Syracuse legend Floyd Little has passed away at 78.

His son announced the news via Twitter Saturday afternoon.

“Floyd Little embodied what it means to be Orange,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement.

“He was an All-American student-athlete. He set records in the NFL and achieved success in the business world.

Floyd Little’s Lifetime Of Achievement As An Athlete

One of Connecticut’s greatest athletes, he was born on July 4, 1942. He began his football career at James Hillhouse High School before he went on to have a Hall of Fame career at Syracuse University.

After graduating, he signed with the Denver Broncos and was eternalized into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983 and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He was a charter member of the Broncos Ring of Fame in 1984.

“Floyd mentored countless student-athletes, and dedicated his time, energy and resources to improving the lives of others,” Syverud added.

Little was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in May. In late November, his family admitted him into hospice care.

During his time playing for the Broncos, Little ran for 6,323 yards and 43 touchdowns in nine seasons after being the sixth selection in the 1967 draft.

He set records with his 1,000-yard season in 1971 when he was the NFL rushing champion with 1,133 yards in 14 games. Little led the AFL in all-purpose yards from 1967 to 1968. He also led the AFL and NFL in rushing yards per game during the 1969 and 1971 seasons.

In Denver, Little remains a beloved figure. In November, the Broncos awarded Little and his family the game ball following a 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins.

“He was a great friend, to me and to his believed Syracuse University. Our hearts are with his wife Deborah, and all who loved him. Floyd Little, number 44, will forever be our Orange MVP,” Syverud said.