Marlin Oliver Briscoe (born September 10, 1945) is an American former collegiate quarterback and Professional Football quarterback and wide receiver. In October 1968, after being drafted by the Denver Broncos, he became the first starting black quarterback in the American Football League and established a Denver rookie record of 14 touchdown passes that season. He played professionally for nine years.
From Omaha, Nebraska, Briscoe played high school football at Omaha South High School and college football at Omaha University, now known as the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Briscoe was 5-foot-10 and 177 pounds when the AFL's Broncos took him in the 14th-round of the 1968 draft. He started eighth on the Broncos' QB depth chart in training camp, so the team switched him to defensive back.
On September 29, 1968, starter Steve Tensi suffered a broken collarbone, and backup Joe DiVito was spotty. Head coach Lou Saban summoned Briscoe from the sidelines in the fourth quarter against the Boston Patriots to give him a try. Briscoe's first play was a 22-yard completion. On his second series he orchestrated an 80-yard touchdown drive. He completed a 21-yard pass and ran for 38 more himself, carrying it the last 12 yards for the score.
When Marlin Briscoe broke the Denver huddle and surveyed the Cincinnati Bengals defense as he walked to the line of scrimmage on October 6, he became the first starting African-American quarterback in the AFL.
Briscoe threw 14 touchdown passes that year, still Denver's rookie record. He completed 41.5 percent of his passes, and averaged 7.1 yards per attempt and his 17.1 yards per completion led the American Football League (and ranks 18th all-time). He also ran for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
Before the 1969 season started, Briscoe still determined to play quarterback, discovered that head coach Saban intended to use Pete Liske as the starter, so he asked to be released. He went to the AFL's Buffalo Bills where he was turned into a receiver, since the Bills already had superstar Jack Kemp, former Pro Bowler Tom Flores, and James Harris, another black quarterback with a more prototypical 6-foot-4 and 210-pound frame. Briscoe never played quarterback again, but he enjoyed a splendid career. He led Buffalo in touchdown catches in each of his three seasons there and in receptions twice. In 1970 he was in the top two in receptions and receiving yards and became an All-Pro.
After the AFL-NFL merger, he played in the National Football League from 1970 though 1976, mostly with American Football Conference teams. In 1971, the Bills traded Briscoe to the Miami Dolphins for a first-round draft pick Joe Delamielleure, who developed as a Hall of Fame guard.
Briscoe went on to win a pair of Super Bowls. Briscoe led the undefeated 1972 team with four touchdown receptions and was the leading receiver on the Dolphins in 1973, catching more passes than future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Paul Warfield.
Briscoe made stops with the San Diego Chargers, and Detroit Lions before ending his career in 1976 with the New England Patriots. He had 10 receptions for 136 yards and 1 TD in 14 regular season games for the New England Patriots in 1976. He caught a 16-yard TD pass from Steve Grogan in the Patriots 48-17 rout of the Oakland Raiders at Schaefer Stadium on 10-03-76. Early in his career, Briscoe was intercepted by Boston Patriots AFL All Star Defensive Back Leroy Mitchell in Denver's 35-14 rout of the Patriots at Fenway Park on November 3, 1968. He is the only player to have been intercepted by a Patriot player and later to have caught a TD as a Patriot receiver.
Upon retirement from professional sports, Briscoe moved to Los Angeles. He became established as a successful financial broker, dealing in municipal bonds. Today, he works as the director of the Boys and Girls Club in Long Beach, California. He founded a football camp for children.