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By: Eli Nicholson
Marlin Briscoe, drafted in 1968 to the Denver Broncos, was American pro football’s first Black QB starter. Now their season-long diversity coaching internship is named after him.
Marlin Briscoe, aka “The Magician,” was the first Black professional starter in American QB history. As announced today, the Denver Broncos will be naming their season-long diversity coaching internship after the pioneer.
Wonderful news that @Broncos will name their diversity-coaching fellowship in honor of Marlin Briscoe.
Called “The Magician,” he became the first Black starting QB in the Super Bowl era.
(As the @nflthrowback video shows, he lived up to his nickname.)
— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) August 10, 2021
Drafted in the 14th round by the AFL’s Denver Broncos in 1968, Briscoe was almost converted into a cornerback but negotiated his way into competing for the QB position.
In his rookie year, #15 was pulled off the bench when starter Steve Tensi suffered an injury and backup QB Joe DiVito struggled to be consistent. Over the season, Briscoe threw fourteen touchdowns with a mere five starts – a franchise rookie record that still stands today – and rushed 308 yards for three touchdowns.
The Magician went on to have a career as a wide receiver in Buffalo, Miami (where he won two Super Bowls and contributed to the perfect season of 1972), San Diego, Detroit, and New England.
Eventually Briscoe would become one of football’s first Black coaches, hailing at the University of Colorado; but he was first a Denver Bronco. It’s fitting that his debut organization would recognize the talent and diversity he brought to Pro Football.
Speaking of the internship: this year’s coaching fellow, Florida A&M University graduate Mateo Kambui, will be working with film breakdown, scouting reports, and assisting with the Broncos’ offense. He was formerly a graduate assistant at Georgia Southern University, and when he was studying his undergrad he played center for the Florida A&M Rattlers.
“I feel very humbled, said Briscoe, “It’s a great honor to be recognized after all these years.”