Marlin Briscoe, the first black quarterback to start a game in the NFL’s modern era, passed away on Monday at the age of 76.
His daughter, Angela, confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Telling the AP that Briscoe had succumbed to a bout with pneumonia.
Nicknamed “The Magician,” Briscoe starred at quarterback for Omaha University before being selected as a corner by the Denver Broncos in the 14th round of 1968 draft.
A man of principle, the Briscoe told the team that he’d leave the game of football to go teach if he couldn’t get a tryout at quarterback. By October, he starting behind center.
He’d start five games at QB in his rookie season, finishing runner-up in AFL Rookie of the Year voting. However, he never got the chance to compete for the job the following season and asked to be released.
He’d go on to become a Pro Bowl receiver with the Bills and two-time Super Bowl champ with the Dolphins where he started for Miami’s perfect 1972 team.
The NFL world reacted to Briscoe’s sad passing on social media.
“Sad to report that another member of Dolphins’ 72 perfect team – Marlin Briscoe – has died,” tweeted Barry Jackson. “He became 1st black starting quarterback in American pro football with Denver in 1968. Was WR for Fins, catching 16-279-4 TDs in 1972. Passed away last night at 76, from heart failure.”
“RIP to Omaha great Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting QB in the NFL, a Pro Bowl WR and a Super Bowl champ with the 1972 Dolphins. A legend.” said Sam McKewon.
“Sad news as the Associated Press reports Marlin Briscoe, who became the first Black QB to start in the AFL when he did so for the Broncos in 1968, has died at the age of 76,” shared Nick Kosmider.
Noting, “The Broncos created a coaching fellowship in Briscoe’s honor ahead of the 2021 season.”
It’s with great sadness that we say goodbye to a man who paved the way for so many. His achievements won’t soon be forgotten.