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FAMU football success impacts Southwest Tallahassee

Posted at 6:09 PM, Dec 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-20 18:09:43-05
  • The Rattlers capped off an undefeated SWAC season with a win in the Celebration Bowl.
  • Fans in the neighborhood say they're impacted in a positive way.
  • Watch the video above to see the reaction from fans and FAMU Head Coach Willie Simmons


"This year has been magical." Rev. Martha Wilson has a lifelong history with Florida A&M University and is a longtime FAMU booster.

"Other years have been good seasons; I love football, I love FAMU Football."

She also tells me many of her friends and family went to the school and experienced football seasons but none quite like this one.

"They say Christmas is a magical time; well this football season has been Christmas every day."

The magic in question is the undefeated SWAC season put on by the Rattlers, capping off with a 30-26 victory over Howard in the Celebration Bowl.

The win brought home FAMU's first national title since the 1978 season. Which has people in trains neighborhood buzzing.

"I do believe that the attitude and the community is very high it is ecstatic, because I see people that never had on Orange and Green before. They're wearing Orange and Green. They're coming out from the wood work."

Clinching the Celebration Bowl is the icing on the cake to the year University is having as a whole. According to the U.S. News & World Report, Florida A&M broke into the Top 100 National Public Universities at No. 91; No. 3 among all HBCU. It's a win-win for both the school and football program.

I spoke with Rattlers Head Coach Willie Simmons about how the success shines a light on the neighborhood surrounding FAMU.

"This win is for everyone. It's not just the football team, it's the university, the southside of Tallahassee, it's the city of Tallahassee; Panhandle… there are so many people that love the Rattlers and we wanted to bring this trophy home for them."

Simmons also tells me, "we definitely look forward to bringing it back next year."

As for neighbors like Wilson, she says the neighborhood will continue to shout, "FAMU Rattlers all the way!"