In 1968, Broncos Marlin Briscoe became first black starting QB in pro football history

Marlin Briscoe. Credit: UNO Athletics from Lincoln Journal Star.

Black quarterbacks aren’t likely associated with the Denver Broncos.

OK, Kendall Hinton — a practice squad wide receiver and double-emergency quarterback — played for Denver this year due to all of the team’s QBs being forced to sit due to COVID-19 protocols. But, technically Phillip Lindsay was the starting quarterback for that game.

The only other black starting quarterback in the Mile High City has been Marlin “The Magician” Briscoe, way back in 1968. And in the unrest of the Civil Rights movement, Briscoe getting to start for Denver was a big deal.

In 2020, many of the best quarterbacks in the NFL are of African American descent. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and the list goes on. But even as recently as the 90s, the basically overt racism of the NFL persisted in believing black men weren’t suited to play quarterback.

And that was 30 years after Briscoe with the Broncos.

“There were a few things that society didn’t think a Black man could do, and [three were] think, throw and lead,” Briscoe said on “They didn’t know how the fan reaction, manager reaction, player and teammate reaction — they didn’t know how that was going to be.”

Back in Briscoe’s day, while black quarterbacks enjoyed great success at the collegiate level, professional teams regularly forced the young men to transition to new positions.…

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