Video:Floyd Little Interview - The Express Movie Premierewith Rebecca Murray
Floyd Little could have gone to any college to play football but Ernie Davis talked him into attending Syracuse. At the premiere of "The Express," based on Davis' life, Little reflected on Davis' influence and the obstacles both men had to overcome.See Transcript
Transcript:Floyd Little Interview - The Express Movie PremiereRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the Hollywood Premiere of The Express.
Retired Running Back – and NFL Great – Floyd Little
Floyd Little: "[Ernie Davis] is the only reason that I went to Syracuse. I mean I had 47 scholarships when I met Ernie, and after five minutes of talking with Ernie and seeing him and my parent – my mom – and my sister seeing him… He was well-dressed, he was very articulate, he was sharp, and he sat on the couch between my mom and my sister and said, 'What's up?,' put his arms around them. He had just won the Heisman, just signed the contract with Cleveland, just signed a contract with Pepsi, and he was at my house in the ghetto of New Haven, Connecticut, talking to me about going to Syracuse and what it did for him. And all my mom and my sisters could say is that if they could produce someone like that, then you have no alternative as to where you ought to go. They all voted and everybody voted for me to go to Syracuse except my brother. I had been recruited by General MacArthur to go to Army – go to West Point – and had an appointment by Senator Humphrey before he became Vice President under Johnson to go to West Point. So that was pretty impressive meeting General MacArthur in his suite at the Waldorf Astoria years ago and sitting with a lot of the Yankee and Dodger fans trying to get me to go to West Point."
"That was pretty impressive, but Ernie Davis stepped in the door and said, 'This is what Syracuse has done for me. One of the things that you will do at Syracuse is graduate. And one of the things that you would understand as a running back, the coach don't like to throw the football so you'll get a chance to carry it a lot of times.' He said, 'Now, let's just talk about girls…' So, he was very instrumental. I mean this guy was a man's man. He stood about 6'2", about 220, and he was just one sharp, handsome guy, very articulate, very centered. To have achieved what he had at an early age, he was very centered unlike the young athletes that are out there today. He was a lot different."
It was a lot different time playing football back then than it is now. Now we have the showboats out there that are just ridiculous.
Floyd Little: "Well we were team players. We did it for our team as you will see in the movie that he played for his team. He didn't do the things for himself; it was all about the team. At the end of the movie when he was in the locker room when they won the Cotton Bowl, I don't want to tell you what happened but boy I'll tell you, everybody cried. I got to know the producers and the director and the actors over the last week and they cry every time they see it. It's just so emotional. I mean, you can't control it. Jim Boeheim, the coach of Syracuse, made noise. He could not stop the whimpering when he saw the movie. So, I was pretty emotional. I sat next to my wife and she was holding and squeezing my hand which tells me she was crying. It was an emotional part for her and she didn't experience that time like I did. I experienced that time at the Gator Bowl and at the Sugar Bowl. I experienced what he experienced at the Cotton Bowl so if you saw the movie, it was incredible. He was MVP like I was in the Gator Bowl and he couldn't go to the party to get his trophy. It was horrible, but things have changed. We're not there yet but we're closer."
Just from a football perspective, what do you think about the football scenes in this, the way they were staged?
Floyd Little: "I thought the guy – and I got a chance to meet him, he's done all the Friday Night Lights, he's done all of that - he's very creative. He obviously played so he knows how they go. They had some slow motion scenes. I mean they had some good shots. They were very authentic. But the way Ernie was running, he was a lot faster than that – and I was faster than him. But the scenes were well done. And I think the scenes that they showed where he had to go through some difficult times, even on his own team, it made for some good viewing."
Who's your pick for the Super Bowl this year – and you're not going to say the Broncos, right?
Floyd Little: "No, no, no but the Broncos are 2-0 or 3-0 right now so they're rolling like they need to roll. But I like the Giants. The coach of the Giants is my teammate. He and I played in the same backfield with Larry Csonka. So Tom Coughlin is a teammate of mine, and I was proud of his accomplishments last year and I'd love to see him repeat."
And go Chargers – I had to throw that in.
Floyd Little: "Do they still have a team?"
As long as we have LaDainian Tomlinson, we have a team.
Floyd Little: "Yeah, I know. Just kidding. And Antonio Gates and a great quarterback..."
Floyd Little: "Rivers. You guys have got some great players."
Now if Shawne Merriman would get healthy again we'd be really good.
Floyd Little: "Well, I don't know. He's an animal in himself. He's a tough player."