From OMavs.com – The UNO flag will be lowered on Wednesday, July 6, in memory of UNO alumnus Marlin Briscoe.
Briscoe, a former quarterback for Omaha University (which became UNO in 1968) died of pneumonia on Monday, June 28. He was 76.
Briscoe, an Omaha native who starred at South High School, set nearly two dozen school records while playing for Omaha U (which became UNO in 1968). Drafted 14th overall by the Denver Broncos, he was initially used as a defensive back, but a series of injuries to the team's quarterbacks gave him an opportunity to switch positions. Briscoe made the most of it and stepped in to become the first black starting quarterback in pro football history during his 1968 rookie season.
Briscoe played for Omaha U in 1963-67 helping the team to a 27-11 overall record during his tenure. Briscoe led Omaha to three conference championships and set 22 records, including 52 touchdown passes, 4,935 yards passing, a 55 percent completion record and a career total offense record of 6,253.
As a senior, Briscoe was named an NAIA All-American and also was named to the Michigan Chronicle's All-American black team alongside LeRoy Keyes of Purdue and O.J. Simpson of Southern Cal.
In Denver, Briscoe took over for Steve Tensi in the middle of the 1968 season. He scored on a fourth-quarter 12-yard run against New England in a 20-17 loss and made pro football history. Against San Diego, he changed a play at the line and scored the winning touchdown on a 10- yard sneak with 1:55 left.
He finished the year with a Bronco rookie record 1,897 yards in total offense and 14 touchdown passes. Against Buffalo, he passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns, and several of his rookie records held until being surpassed by John Elway.
But at 5-10, Briscoe was considered by some to be too small to play quarterback in the NFL. He was released and landed in Buffalo, where he was converted to a receiver and earned a trip to the Pro Bowl after his second season in 1970. He was traded by the Bills to Miami after the 1971 season, joining the Dolphins in time to play a key role in their historic 17-0 season that culminated in a Super Bowl win.
Briscoe was one of the inaugural inductees into the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975. His personal life has sometimes been a roller coaster ride, which he detailed in his book The First Black Quarterback, which was released in 2002.
From the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Athletics
"The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and Omaha Athletics are saddened to hear of the passing of Marlin Briscoe. True to the Maverick Spirit, Briscoe blazed new trails in the American Football League becoming its first black starting quarterback in an era marked by movements for racial equity and civil rights. “Marlin the Magician,” as he was known, went on to win two Super Bowls, including as a leading receiver on the only undefeated team in the history of the National Football League, and became UNO’s only inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame. His success followed him off the field through a career in finance, volunteering, and community engagement. A statue of Briscoe on UNO’s campus next to Al F. Caniglia Field where he played serves as an enduring reminder of his legacy both on and off the field. Our hearts go out to the Briscoe family during this difficult time."
Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, UNO Chancellor
Adrian Dowell, UNO Vice Chancellor of Athletics
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.