First Black pro football quarterback, Marlin Briscoe, dead at 76

One of the most impactful players to ever throw a football in a pro league has passed away at the age of 76, leaving a legacy behind that’s unmatched by any others who came after him.

According to CBS Sports, Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting quarterback and a member of the legendary 1972 Miami Dolphins, has died. Briscoe’s death was confirmed by his daughter, Angela Marriott, to the Associated Press over the weekend. 

Briscoe, known as “The Magician” during his time, was first drafted by the American Football League’s Denver Broncos in 1968. He almost nabbed the “Rookie of the Year” title, having started five games. In only his second start, against the Buffalo Bills, Briscoe managed to throw an unprecedented four touchdowns, and racked up 335 yards — stats that would be great for even the most seasoned of quarterbacks on any given Sunday.

Even with his impressive stats, Briscoe was denied the opportunity to compete for the starting QB job the following year, so he made the switch to wide receiver, where he shined on the field.

CBS Sports wrote of his receiving debut: “He quickly caught on with the Bills, where in 1970 he earned Pro Bowl honors as a receiver after catching 57 passes for 1,036 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. Briscoe’s best game that season came against the Dolphins, as he caught seven passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in Buffalo’s Week 5 loss to the eventual AFC champions.”

Given that Briscoe was nothing less than a pioneer in the sport, it’s not surprising that tributes poured in from all over the football — and sports — world.

Brisco was also known for being a contributing member of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins squad, a storied team that is still talked about today.