Marlin Briscoe, Pioneering Black Quarterback, Dies at 76

Marlin Briscoe, Pioneering Black Quarterback, Dies at 76


Marlin Briscoe, a groundbreaking scrambling quarterback who had to get over prejudice from Black athletes enjoying that situation through the 1960s, and who later on won two Tremendous Bowl rings as a huge receiver with the Miami Dolphins, died on Monday in Norwalk, Calif., outside the house Los Angeles. He was 76.

His daughter Angela Marriott claimed the result in of his death, in a medical center, was pneumonia. She reported he had been obtaining circulation challenges in his legs.

Briscoe manufactured pro football history in 1968, during his rookie calendar year with the Denver Broncos, when he turned the 1st Black participant to begin at quarterback in the Super Bowl period. However he experienced starred at quarterback in higher education, quite a few coaches at the time thought that Black players ended up incapable of handling the complexity of that posture.

Briscoe went on to set a workforce rookie document by tossing 14 touchdowns for the Broncos (just one much less that 12 months than Joe Namath of the New York Jets), when Denver was part of the American Football League. He performed in 11 video games that season, starting up 5, and ran for 308 yards and 3 scores.

Briscoe was acknowledged as the Magician, and his versatility as a passer and runner was a harbinger of the Black quarterbacks to arrive.

“He was born too shortly,” Doug Williams, the very first Black quarterback to start off and acquire a Tremendous Bowl, claimed in a telephone interview. Williams, who led the Washington Redskins (now Commanders) to a 42-10 rout above Denver in Super Bowl XXII, capping the 1987 time, and was voted the game’s most worthwhile participant, mentioned that Briscoe was a forerunner of the modern Black quarterback.

“He was Michael Vick right before there was Michael Vick,” Williams mentioned. “He was Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson all tied up in one.”

Despite Briscoe’s achievements, the biases of the time held him from playing quarterback previous his rookie year. He said that Lou Saban, the Broncos’ head mentor, pressured him out as quarterback with out an clarification just before the 1969 year. After asking to be produced, Briscoe joined the Buffalo Expenditures, wherever he switched to vast receiver and immediately figured out the new place.

“All I desired was a prospect to showcase my capabilities,” he explained to The New York Times in 2014. “It was a mirror of what the ’60s ended up about, particularly in the African American group. We mentioned, ‘No, this is what we want,’ so it was easier for me. If it had been in the ’50s, no way in the earth would I have carried out that. But I grew up in the ideal time to express myself.”

Briscoe played a few seasons in Buffalo and had his finest calendar year in 1970, when he caught 57 passes for 1,036 yards and eight touchdowns and was chosen for the Pro Bowl.

In 1972 he joined the Miami Dolphins, who had lost in Tremendous Bowl VI the earlier season. The Dolphins were a run-initially team and already had two established receivers in Paul Warfield and Howard Twilley, so Briscoe’s stats declined.

But the Dolphins done the N.F.L.’s only ideal season when they won Tremendous Bowl VII, and they recurring as champions for the 1973 season. Briscoe later played for the Detroit Lions, the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots.

Marlin Oliver Briscoe Jr. was born on Sept. 10, 1945, in Oakland, Calif. His mom and dad, Marlin and Geneva Briscoe, moved to Omaha when he was youthful. Raised by his mom, who labored in a school cafeteria, he grew up in a multiethnic housing challenge that sat in the shadow of a meat packing plant and that generated other athletics stars, amid them Bob Gibson and Gale Sayers.

Briscoe played football at the Municipal College of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska Omaha), and even though he was reasonably compact at 5-foot-10 and 175 lbs ., he was an superb passer and runner and a purely natural leader. As a quarterback he established 22 university data, together with for passing yards (5,114) and touchdowns (53).

He was chosen by the Broncos in the 14th round of the professional football draft in 1968, but the group intended to use him as a defensive back again.

Briscoe understood how difficult it would be to alter his coach’s head. He advised Saban that he would signal as a defensive again if Saban gave him a tryout as a quarterback all through education camp, in front of supporters and reporters. He desired to demonstrate his capabilities.

“I consider they just did it to pacify me,” he explained to The Los Angeles Instances in 2000. “I knew that the powers that be in 1968 would be fearful of a Black quarterback.”

Saban played down Briscoe’s throwing and jogging competencies, Briscoe mentioned, and dispatched him to perform with the defensive backs.

However, Briscoe mentioned, he experienced allow folks know that “a Black gentleman could believe and throw.”

A hamstring damage retained him from enjoying early in the time, but on Sept. 29, with Saban quickly finding himself in will need of a quarterback, Briscoe was termed to fill in for the battling starter, Jim Leclair, and Briscoe nearly led the staff to a comeback victory over the Boston (now New England) Patriots.

Saban available only a lukewarm evaluation of the effectiveness, but the subsequent week Briscoe nevertheless grew to become the initial Black starting up quarterback in A.F.L. historical past, in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals he was changed in the 2nd fifty percent by Steve Tensi in a 10-7 victory.

In one of his major online games, in opposition to the Dolphins on Oct. 27, Briscoe took more than for Tensi, immediately after Tensi had thrown a few interceptions, and rallied the Broncos to a 21-14 acquire. He had two hurrying touchdowns, which includes one particular that put the Broncos in front for good.

For the 5-9 Broncos, Briscoe handed for 1,589 yards, threw 13 interceptions and had a 2-3 record as a starter.

Just after his actively playing profession, he became a monetary broker, but in the late 1970s he grew to become addicted to cocaine. In the future decade he lived on the streets for a while was kidnapped by drug dealers, who tossed him out of a automobile in a dispute more than a drug personal debt and gave his Super Bowl rings to a banker for collateral on a personal loan. (The banker bought them.)

On Jan. 31, 1988, Briscoe was serving a prison sentence for drug possession when he viewed Williams lead Washington to victory in Super Bowl XXII.

“I was in a darkish position,” Briscoe advised the web page The Undefeated (now Andscape) in 2016. “What transpired — it price me a ton. But I felt I was a portion of what Doug did. I felt like what I did all people yrs in the past aided Doug.”

Right after he stopped applying medications, Briscoe had a storage small business and worked for a Boys & Girls Club in the Los Angeles place as a fund-raiser and assistant project manager.

In addition to his daughter Angela, he is survived by a further daughter, Rebecca Briscoe. He was married and divorced three moments.

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