Monday, October 25, 2010

Floyd Little's Tales from the Broncos Sideline - Book Review

Let’s take our minds off of that-which-must-not-be-named in Bronco-land and take a trip back in time to the good old days.

One of the tried and true formats of the sports memoir is to assemble a collection of anecdotes about the player’s life and career. But the real challenge is to make the book flow. All too often, as interesting as the stories are, the result is a choppy, uneven book.

Not in this case. Tom Mackie assembled a fantastic collection of stories and memories and deserves a lot of credit for creating the flow that is absent from many sports memoirs. More importantly, Mackie preserves Little’s voice. I’ve heard many an interview with Floyd Little and reading this book is like sitting down with Little and listening to his stories in person.

And what stories they are! Let’s face it, as the NFL has become the insanely huge business that it is today it has matured as well. Little played in those days in the league when the really big business was still on the horizon but the fanatical following by fans was fully realized. The classic picture on the cover, of fans carrying Little on their shoulders is proof enough of the changed times.

Little takes us through his pre-college and college years of the game and the who’s who of inspirational people that marched in and out of his life. He candidly discusses the challenges of being an African-American. Later in the book Little tells us why he much preferred playing in Denver over anywhere in the South.

Denver Bronco fans, old and new should be familiar with the struggles the Broncos went through in those early years of the franchise.

Little talks about the bounties the Raiders put on Bronco players and Bronco stats too.

Little once told a reporter that he drank a half-glass of blood, ate raw meat and slept in a dark cage before game day!!!

The Broncos’ QB troubles in his rookie year included the coach starting a punter at the QB position. The QB door was spinning faster than anything we’ve seen since the end of the Elway era.

Fans throwing half-loaves of bread during the game.

Training by running the steps of Mile High in combat boots.

Little’s stories regularly made me laugh out loud. Some of this stuff is just the kind of thing that would get players in trouble today but things were a lot more easy-going back then, it makes for great reading now.

Pick it up HERE

-From the Point

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