Marlin Oliver (Marlin the Magician) Briscoe (born September 10, 1945) is a former American collegiate and Professional Football wide receiver/quarterback who played professionally for nine years. Before being drafted by the American Football League’s Denver Broncos in the 1968 Common Draft, Briscoe played high school football at Omaha South High School and college football at 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.