The first black quarterback to start in the American Football League, Marlin “The Magician” Briscoe, has died. He was 76 years old.
Angela Marriott, Briscoe’s daughter, confirmed the tragic news on Monday, explaining that her father was hospitalized for poor circulation in his legs before succumbing to pneumonia in Norwalk, California.
He began his career as a star quarterback at Omaha University in the 1960s. In addition to leading the team to three conference championships, he set 22 school records, including 4,935 passing yards and 52 touchdowns.
In the 1968 AFL draft, the Denver Broncos selected the Omaha native in the 14th round as a cornerback.
The Broncos put Briscoe at QB1 when the starter got hurt and the backup showed inconsistencies at the start of 1968, making him the first black quarterback to start in the league.
The opportunity proved to be a great one for Briscoe as he set a Broncos rookie record with 14 passing touchdowns.
During his 8-year NFL career, the Pro Bowler played for the Bills, Chargers, Lions, Patriots, and Dolphins, where he won two Super Bowls.
He played on the undefeated 1972 Miami team.
After leaving the NFL, Briscoe worked for a Boys and Girls Club in Long Beach and started a football camp.
In 2016, he was honored with a statue at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Rest in peace.