Oct. 12, 2003
How many running backs can say that they have scored a touchdown in a
national championship game as well as a Super Bowl? You probably can
count them with a first down marker, but former Florida State fullback
William Floyd is one of them. Floyd is also the only football player in
the history of the game to win a national championship and a Super Bowl
title in the same city in back-to-back years.
A member of the Seminoles 1993 squad, he helped Florida State win its
first national championship when he crossed the goal line in the Orange
Bowl against Nebraska. Just over a year later he ran for a touchdown in
Super Bowl XXIX as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the San Diego
Chargers 49-26 in Miami.
Seminole Game Day recently caught up with Floyd after his return to
Tallahassee for the 1993 National Championship reunion.
Q: What was it like coming back for the 1993 team reunion?
A: It brought back a lot of memories. It was great to see all the guys
that I went to war with and saw everyday on the practice field. It was
great to see coach Bowden again. It was amazing to see all the changes to
the campus and the football facilities.
Q: Is there one memory that sticks out the most from the1993 season?
A: What sticks out the most is the week after the Notre Dame game. We
went up there for what was billed as The Game of the Century, but we
had had about five games of the century the last two years. After we lost
we thought our shot at a national championship was gone. We were moping
around the entire week after the game and even though we were down after
the loss, we still came out that week willing to work. We could have hung our heads against NC State, but after we saw Boston College beat Notre Dame we knew had another chance. We came out and beat NC State 62-3 and gave the writers a reason to vote for us again. That really showed our character. The whole year coach Bowden talked about how we needed to act as the number team in the country and we showed our true character that week after Notre Dame.
Q: What was the mindset going into the national championship game?
A: We were overconfident against Nebraska and they came to play. We had
beaten them the previous year so we were like ‘This shouldn’t be any
problem winning against these guys.’ The whole week down there we had
great practices and we knew that we would win, but we didn’t think that
it would be that hard. I still tip my hat to those guys. They showed up
to play that night, but (Scott) Bentley came in and knocked through the
field goal that we needed to win.
Q: Whats your take on the controversial touchdown that you scored in
the championship game?
A: I always get a lot of flack about that. It wouldn’t have been
controversial if they had given me the touchdown on the previous play. I
was dancing in the end zone thinking I had got it, but the referee said I
didn’t get in so I wanted to make sure the second time. I usually get a
lot of grief from Toby Wright who played for Nebraska and was with the
Rams. He tells me that I fumbled the ball, but all I can say is that it
is down in the record books as a touchdown. As the years have gone by,
I’ve been able to enjoy the touchdown more.
Q: Despite not being an All-American or even an All-ACC selection your
senior year you were a first round draft pick. What did you do to put
yourself into that position?
A: We went to the shotgun because it worked so well for us. However, that
meant we didn’t use the fullback as much. When we did, it was usually on
short yardage so I got to score a lot of touchdowns and pick up first
downs. I was averaging over five yards a run and the scouts want to see
what you can do with the ball, not whether you rushed for 1,000 yards on
a couple hundred carries. Then at the combine I ran some great times, did
well on the different tests and as Chris Berman put it, I was head and
shoulders above every other fullback in the draft.
Q: What was draft day like for you?
A: Going into the draft I was projected anywhere from the 17th pick to
the second round. Pittsburgh had the 17th pick and before the draft I was
in Atlanta and I got a call from the Steelers. They asked me how I was
doing, if I was healthy and then told me that they were going to take me
with the 17th pick. I’m back in Tallahassee on draft day and the 17th
pick comes up and the Steelers made a deal to take John L. Williams.
After that I was convinced that I wasn’t going to go until the second
round so I pretty much had my head in the pillow. I would look up at the TV when Paul Tagliaebue came to the podium and when we called my name I was totally shocked. The rest of the house was going crazy, but it took a minute for it to sink in. The next thing I know, all the phones are ringing and (49ers head coach) George Seifert is on one line and (general manager) Carmen Policy is on another. It was
an amazing feeling.
Q: Were the 49ers ever in the picture?
A: At the combine I saw Dwight Clark who was in charge of player personnel for the Niners. I told him that Tom (Rathman) was getting old and that they needed a fullback. He just gave me a little smile and little did I know that they were going to be the ones who drafted me.
Q: Compare winning a Super Bowl to winning a national championship.
A: There was a lot of hype around the national championship game, but
nothing compares to the Super Bowl. It was amazing to be on a team with
future Hall of Famers like Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders and Ken
Norton. I was in awe the entire season. I was thinking to myself, are you
kidding me? I’m playing with Jerry Rice, the best receiver to ever play
the game and Deion Sanders who was kicking butt at Florida State before I
got there and is now doing it in the NFL.
Q: As a native of Florida, how special was it to win both of your
championships in your home state?
A: I couldn’t ask for anything more than to be able to win a national
championship and a Super Bowl on Florida soil with all my friends and
family there. Everything happened so fast those two years that I didn’t
realize everything until about two years after the Super Bowl. I didn’t
appreciate how much hard work that it took and how all the right things
had to fall into place for me to have this opportunity.
Q: What did you learn from playing with the 49ers?
A: They had a motto out there called the 49er Standard. You make an oath
to yourself that you wont be the guy who makes the team lose. You won’t be
the guy who drops the ball, make a bad block or commits a stupid penalty
that costs us the game. Those guys were the consummate professionals.
Jerry (Rice) is the standard for how you stay in shape and work out. He’s
40 years old and still pulling in 1,000 yards. There are receivers 10 years
younger than him who aren’t doing that. The work ethic and everything
else is started at the top. Eddy DiBartilo made sure that we had
everything and that it was first class. It’s easy to play your best with
an atmosphere like that.
Q: As one of the number two fullback prospects in the country coming out
of high school, how tough was it for you to sit on the bench your first
A: It was painful for me. That’s when I think Coach Bowden and I became
close. I would go into his office and ask him why I wasn’t starting despite
that I was performing so well in practice. He told me William, when you
become a junior you’ll know why. My junior year, what he said came to
fruition and I had a great season and as I look back on it now, I’m happy
that I didn’t play right away. Coach Bowden is very loyal to his upperclassmen.
Q: Can this year’s team be as good as the 1993 squad?
A: I think they have the talent to be as successful as the 1993 team. The
only disadvantage they have is that they don’t have the camaraderie that
we had. We all lived in Burt Reynolds Hall and we did everything
together. We didn’t have time to get in trouble and the older guys kept
you in line to ensure the success of the team. Basically they don’t spend
the time together off the field like we did to make us the tight knit
group that we were. The last year that you saw that kind of camaraderie was in 1999. Peter Warrick was one of the last guys to experience what it was like. Coach
Bowden has kept this program in tact for almost 30 years and people are
attacking him for reasons they don’t understand. The man has more
integrity than anyone I know but its up to the players to bring the
program back up to where it was. These guys have to challenge themselves
to become closer. They are close now, but if they get closer, I guarantee
no one will stop them.