THE NEBRASKA 100




No. 18
No. 16


17. Marlin Briscoe

Football, Basketball / Omaha / Born: 1945

QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha South High, Omaha University, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Omaha Central star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers

Best moment as an athlete: When he became the first black quarterback to start in the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 1968

Early sign of greatness: Briscoe realized he had special skills while at Indian Hills Junior High. "I realized I had talent in all types of sports. I worked at it, but sports came easy for me."

They called him "Marlin the Magician."

But long before he became the NFL's first black starting quarterback and long before he won two Super Bowl rings, Marlin Briscoe was a youngster trying to make his mark on the Omaha playgrounds.

He received a rude introduction to midget football in the mid-1950s, coming face-to-face with another talented player destined for greatness.

"Gale Sayers was running for a touchdown and I was the last guy with a chance to tackle him," Briscoe said. "He was 13 years old and I was 11, and he ran right over the top of me. I still have the cleat marks on my chest. He was an unbelievable athlete. Gale definitely inspired me."

That inspiration took Briscoe a long way. While Sayers went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Chicago Bears, Briscoe went on to play nine seasons in the NFL.

A football and basketball star at Omaha South in the 1960s, Briscoe starred at quarterback at Omaha University. He was drafted by Denver in the 14th round in 1968, and passed for 1,097 yards and 14 touchdowns as a rookie.

"Being a pioneer and setting the tone for future black quarterbacks ... was a responsibility I took very seriously," he said.

He moved to wide receiver and became an AllPro with the Buffalo Bills. In 1970, he led the NFL with 57 catches for 1,036 yards and eight touchdowns.

Briscoe played on the Miami Dolphins' Super Bowl-winners in 1972 and 1973. The 1972 team went 17-0, the only NFL team to finish unbeaten.

-- Craig Sesker


QUICK FACTS:


Played for: Omaha South High, Omaha University, Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots

Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Omaha Central star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Gale Sayers

Best moment as an athlete: When he became the first black quarterback to start in the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 1968

Early sign of greatness: Briscoe realized he had special skills while at Indian Hills Junior High. "I realized I had talent in all types of sports. I worked at it, but sports came easy for me."