Marlin Briscoe, the American Football League’s first Black starting quarterback more than 50 years ago, passed away on Monday. According to his daughter, Angela Marriott, Briscoe, 76, passed away from pneumonia in a Norwalk, California, hospital. Due to problems with his legs’ circulation, he had been hospitalized.
Before being selected by the Denver Broncos as a cornerback in the 14th round of the 1968 NFL Draft, Briscoe, an Omaha, Nebraska native, was a standout quarterback at Omaha University. If he couldn’t get a quarterback tryout, Briscoe informed the squad he would go back home and become a teacher. The 5-foot-10 dynamo known as “The Magician” joined the starting lineup on October 6 after Denver consented to an audition. Briscoe finished second in the voting for the “AFL rookie of the year” award that year after scoring 14 touchdowns.