Good morning, Broncos Country!
One day into the New Year, and the heart of the Denver Broncos is aching.
Floyd Little, also known as “The Franchise,” passed away on Friday at his home in Henderson, Nevada, at the age of 78. Little succumbed to a rare form of cell cancer.
I am too young to have had the pleasure of watching Little play for the Broncos, but to hear from those who did, you realize how special he was and what he meant to this franchise.
When Little was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010, I chatted with Broncos radio play-by-play guy Dave Logan for a column that ran in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. I would link to it, but it’s now behind a paywall.
What Logan told me in then rings even more true to this day, especially with the news of Little’s passing.
“Having grown up here in Denver, my first memories of going to a Broncos game back in the late 1960s, early ‘70s was watching Floyd,” Logan told me. “There weren’t a lot of great times. They didn’t win a lot of games.
“But I remember going to the stadium and thinking just as a kid that Floyd was always a guy that gave great effort, was a great player and played hard all the time. He was the face of the franchise at that point.”
For those who don’t know, if not for Little, the Broncos are not the Broncos. In fact, they may not even be in Denver. Logan told me that prior to drafting Little out of Syracuse in 1967, there was talk of the franchise leaving Denver.
Floyd Little ran with a time zone on his back. pic.twitter.com/HC92QbcOt9— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 2, 2021
According to the Broncos’ website, “In 1967, the Denver Broncos faced a crisis when voters declined a bond issue to construct a new stadium. But local fans came to the rescue, forming a nonprofit group called the ‘DOERS’ and raising $1.8 million to purchase Bears Stadium from its private owners. The following year, the addition of an upper deck increased capacity to 50,000, and the facility was re-named Denver Mile High Stadium. In 1971, voters approved a $25 million bond issue to expand the stadium to more than 75,000 seats.”
Other Broncos may have played a role in the fans saving the day, but let’s be real. The only reason they did was because of Little.
As Logan told me in 2010:
“You would be hard pressed for even the most ardent of pro football fan that didn’t live in Denver to remember anybody or much about the team at that particular point other than, ‘Oh yeah, that was the team that Floyd Little played for.’ Floyd and John (Elway) have been the two single most important players that this franchise has ever known.”
Elway is and always will be the face of the Broncos.
But if not for Little, there is no Elway in Denver.
Rest in peace to a man who not only changed and saved the Broncos, he changed and saved Denver.
Statement by President-elect Biden on the passing of Floyd Little:https://t.co/1qLCIwzi1F pic.twitter.com/AiiD4npJjM— Biden-Harris Presidential Transition (@Transition46) January 3, 2021
Each Saturday, I do a segment on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM. This week, I was turned into Denver’s general manager for a day and I list the moves I would make. I also give my analysis/prediction for Sunday’s game.
Broncos Vs Raiders Preview: Can Drew Lock Give Denver More Clarity?
Broncos and Raiders feels like a meaningless game, though it could reveal more about Denver’s QB situation heading into 2021.
2020 In Review: Top 5 Colorado Sports Betting Stories
From launching amidst a pandemic to the Broncos not being favored in any game of the 2020 season, it was a memorable year for Colorado sports betting.
'We've lost a great person and a great Bronco': John Elway, Terrell Davis, other sports legends react to passing of Floyd Little
Jack Youngblood, Andre Reed and Gil Brandt were among the other Pro Football Hall of Famers who shared their memories of Little on Twitter.
#LVvsDEN’s Burning Questions: Can the Broncos improve their turnover margin?
Denver will face off against Las Vegas in the final game of the season.
Denver Broncos legend Floyd Little dies at 78 | 9news.com
Floyd was the first Broncos star and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He died Friday at his home in Henderson, Nev.
Fangio calls Von's loss 'one of biggest disappointments' of season
The Broncos are not going to playoffs, earning the status as a non-contender because of an horrific turnover margin. Will Drew Lock improve in 2021? Will Von Miller be back?
Broncos enter offseason with less optimism and more questions - Denver Broncos- ESPN
There's still plenty to be excited about in Denver, but legitimate questions surround the team and quarterback Drew Lock entering his third season.
NFL Week 17 game picks, schedule guide, playoff scenarios, fantasy football tips, odds, injuries and more
What to watch for in every game. Bold predictions. Playoff positioning. Fantasy advice. Key stats to know. And, of course, score predictions. It's all here for Week 17.
Philadelphia Eagles DC Jim Schwartz taking year off from coaching in 2021, sources say
Philadelphia will be in the market for a new defensive coordinator, as Jim Schwartz intends to take the year off from coaching in 2021, sources told ESPN.
Tom Brady has given Tampa Bay a season unlike any in NFL history
John Romano | Before the playoffs begin, we should probably take a moment to appreciate the quarterback’s unprecedented performance.
Justin Fields put Alabama, NFL on notice with masterful Sugar Bowl - The Washington Post
Ohio State's 49-28 win over Clemson would appear to make the Buckeyes a real threat in the national title game.
BYU QB Zach Wilson intends to forego senior season, enter 2021 NFL Draft
BYU's Zach Wilson, one of the nation's top QB prospects, announced on Friday that he intends to enter the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jets expected to part ways with head coach Adam Gase after Sunday’s game
The New York Jets are expected to part ways with coach Adam Gase after Sunday's finale against the New England Patriots.
Titans RB Derrick Henry could make NFL history vs. Texans
In line for a second-straight rushing title, Titans RB Derrick Henry still has a long ways to go to hit 2,000 yards, but he’s going up against the Texans’ 31st-ranked rushing defense, which has already allowed back-to-back 200-yard outings to King Henry.
Top 10 NFL MVP candidates in 2020: Aaron Rodgers edges Patrick Mahomes
In a tight MVP race, does Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes have the edge with one Sunday remaining in the NFL's regular season? Nick Shook explores the top 10 candidates for this illustrious individual honor.