Marlin Briscoe, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Miami Dolphins and the first Black quarterback to start in the AFL, died Monday at the age of 76.
Angela Marriott said that her father, Briscoe, died of pneumonia at a hospital in Norwalk, Calif., and was in the hospital because he had circulation issues in his legs, according to the Associated Press.
Born and raised in Omaha, Neb., Briscoe played quarterback at Omaha University for four years from 1963-1967. In the 1968 NFL Draft, he was drafted in the 14th round as a cornerback by the Denver Broncos. At the time, Briscoe wasn’t too happy about that and said the only way he’d join the team was if he got a tryout as a quarterback, the position he had been playing his whole life.
At only 5’10,” on Sept. 29, 1968, as a backup, Briscoe made a comeback against the then-Boston Patriots and lead them to a victory. A week later, he was the first Black quarterback to be named a starter in the AFL (American Football League).
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Briscoe started five games that season. He was runner-up for AFL rookie of the year after passing for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushing for 308 yards and three scores.
Denver didn’t give Briscoe a chance to compete for the quarterback job in 1969 and did not offer an explanation, so Briscoe asked to be released.
After he asked to be released before his second year, he went to the Buffalo Bills and switched his position to wide receiver. He played for the Bills for three years and racked up more than 2,100 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He was traded to the Miami Dolphins before the 1972 season and won Super Bowl VII that season. That Dolphins team is arguably the greatest in NFL history as they are the only team to go undefeated in the regular season and win a Super Bowl.
The next year in Super Bowl VII, Briscoe got his second ring with the Miami Dolphins.
Briscoe was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2016 and a diversity coaching fellowship was named in his honor by the Broncos before the 2021 NFL season, according to the Associated Press.