Saturday, October 20, 2012

Book Review: Promises to Keep

As a Denver Broncos season ticket holder since I was 12 years old (1968), I anxiously awaited a chance to read Floyd Little's new book, Promises to Keep, written with Tom Mackie.

Floyd was a childhood hero of mine.  I watched many of his games live from the old South Stands of Mile High Stadium during his playing career (1967-75).  This book gave me a behind the scenes look at what REALLY was going on with Floyd during his years with the Broncos.  I loved all the stories he shares about interactions with his teammates and coaches.  How Floyd body slammed offensive tackle Mike Current to the ground at half time because of Current's uninspired play in one game, how defensive end Lyle Alzado, big ego and all, would intentionally jump offsides so he could hear his name over the stadium public address system, and how the Denver players had to endure the tirades of head coach Lou Saban.  These and many other stories will be of great interest to anyone who was a fan of the Broncos in those years.

More than a behind the scenes look at pro football, though, Promises to Keep is also a motivational tale.  "I wanted to write this book in the hope of inspiring fans like you to go out and fulfill your own dreams," Floyd writes on page 1.  "If you're not doing everything you can to live your dream, you have to ask yourself, 'What am I waiting for?'  Life is not a dress rehearsal.  It's the only one you get."

Floyd's life story is inspiring.  He was a troubled youth who grew up in poverty.  "I was shy and self-conscious," Floyd writes.  The outgoing Floyd Little was shy?  I would have never guessed.  He overcomes a difficult childhood to become his high school class president and a team leader at Syracuse University.  "I had a non-stop drive to achieve everything people said I couldn't," Floyd recalls.  In telling of the obstacles he overcame to become a success, Floyd motivates his readers to conquer their own challenges, too.

Floyd also talks about his life after football and his long delayed induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.  I was disappointed to read that the Denver Broncos have not treated him well in recent years, like not picking up the tab for Floyd's Hall of Fame induction party.  Even more incredulous to me was the fact that Floyd had to stand on line for three hours to get a ticket for the team's first Super Bowl appearance in January 1978.  That was only two seasons after Floyd retired - had the Broncos forgotten the man who was instrumental in making the team a box office success so soon?

If you are a Bronco fan, Promises to Keep is a must read.  Even if you are not, you will be inspired by Floyd's story and tales of pro football in an era very different from today's game.

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