Briscoe Statue Unveiled at Baxter Arena
OMAHA, Neb. - Marlin Briscoe is perhaps Omaha Athletics' most iconic student-athlete, and his image became an icon on Friday with the unveiling of a bronze statue at Baxter Arena.
The sculpture, by local artist Joe Putjenter, was uncovered by Briscoe and Omaha basketball player Tra-Deon Hollins at an event that drew more than 200 members of the community as well as family, friends and former Briscoe teammates. Hollins served as the model for the sculpture.
Those in attendance heard from Briscoe as well as Ruben Cano, principal of Briscoe's alma mater, Omaha South High School. Putjenter also spoke of the process of creating the piece.
The unveiling was the second event of the weekend, following a dinner in Briscoe's honor on Thursday night at Baxter titled, An Evening with the Magician. He also will be honored at Omaha South's football game on Friday, Sept. 23.
Briscoe is due to be inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in December, one of several honors earned for his career in high school, college and professional sports.
Briscoe, who lives in Long Beach, California, was born Sept. 10, 1945, and attended South High School from 1959 through 1963. He attended Omaha University, graduating in 1967.
While at Omaha South, Briscoe made the All-Intercity football team at running back and was part of the team’s conference championship in 1962.
As quarterback at UNO, Briscoe set 22 school records, including 5,114 passing yards and 53 touchdowns for his career. He also was named an NAIA first-team All-American. As a senior, he was among the nation’s leaders in passing and total offense.
Following his graduation from UNO, Briscoe was drafted by the Denver Broncos and on Sept. 29, 1968, took the field against the Boston Patriots as the first-ever African-American starting quarterback. During the next drive, he led the Broncos 80 yards and scored a 12-yard rushing touchdown.
He finished his Broncos career with 1,697 passing yards, 14 passing touchdowns, 336 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns.
Briscoe played the majority of his nine-year career in the NFL as wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills and won two Super Bowls with the Miami Dolphins. He also spent time with the San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots, amassing 224 career catches for 3,537 yards and 30 receiving touchdowns.
In addition to being named to the National College and High School Football Halls of Fame in 2016, Briscoe is a member of the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame, Omaha Sports Hall of Fame, Nebraska Black Sports Hall of Fame and UNO Athletics Hall of Fame.