The name Marlin Briscoe may not come immediately to the front in the minds of younger fans when they think about the Denver Broncos.
But for those who have followed the organization since its inception, the name should sound familiar.
The Broncos selected Briscoe in the 14th round of the 1968 NFL Draft, making him the first African American quarterback for the Broncos. And in that first year, he made history by becoming the first African American quarterback to start a game in the NFL.
Despite being listed eighth on the depth chart during training camp, Briscoe made the roster back in 1968. Then on September 29, 1968, in a game against the Boston Patriots, starter Steve Tensi broke his collarbone and backup Joe DiVito wasn’t getting the job done. Then Head Coach Lou Saban put Briscoe in the game in the fourth quarter. He led the Broncos on an 80-yard scoring drive to win the game.
It was the next week, however, that he made history. After his performance against the Patriots, he started at quarterback against the Bengals.
On February 4, 2009, Congressman Lee Terry of Nebraska’s Second Congressional District honored Briscoe on the House floor, entering him into the Congressional Record, in honor of Black History Month.
Briscoe played college at the University of Nebraska at Omaha after playing at Omaha South High School.
He set the Broncos’ rookie record for touchdown passes with 14 and also ran for 308 yards and three scores.
The following year, the Broncos released Briscoe, who landed with the Bills and was converted to wide receiver. He would later win two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins, and he would spend time with the Chargers, Lions and Patriots before retiring.
Today, Briscoe resides in California and works as the director of the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach.
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com