The football world lost a trailblazer this week with the passing of “The Magician” Marlin Briscoe, the first Black quarterback to start in the AFL. Briscoe died on Monday at the age of 76 from pneumonia.
Briscoe isn’t a household name, but he should be, as Touchdown Wire’s Doug Farrar points out in a great article that chronicles Briscoe’s career.
Houston Oilers great and quarterback Warren Moon took to social media to remember Briscoe, who Moon says gave him the inspiration that he could one day become a professional starting quarterback.
“Today is a sad day for me,” Moon tweeted. “One of my idols growing up, Marlin Briscoe, passed away. He was one of a few Black QBs of the late 60s that gave me the inspiration that one day I could play QB as a professional. Marlin was the 1st Black QB to start in the AFL.
“Started 5 games his rookie year and was runner up for rookie of the [year] in 1968. We became very close friends during my career, and we worked at some QB clinics together. He will be missed! My thoughts and prayers go out to Marlin and his family. RIP Marlin.”
Moon was a trailblazer in his own right, as he was the first (and remains the only) Black quarterback to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Originally a 14th-round pick of the Denver Broncos in 1968, Briscoe’s career spanned nine seasons and saw him play for six different teams. He was voted to one Pro Bowl and was part of a Miami Dolphins team that had a perfect record in 1972 and won back-to-back Super Bowls.