NEW YORK, N.Y. – Omaha football legend Marlin Briscoe joined 15 other college football standouts for a media availability ahead of their induction into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame.
The 2016 Hall of Fame Class will be formally inducted during the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria on Tuesday night. Fans can watch the entire NFF Annual Awards Dinner tonight, starting at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN3.
Briscoe, the first African American starting quarterback in professional football, set 22 school records for then-Omaha University, 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.
“The things that you learn from your collegiate experience really carries on to life, more so than the pros,” said Briscoe about his time at OU. “First of all, you got to get your education. And first and foremost, that's more important than the Xs and Os of the football field.
“And it's a great experience to have played on a collegiate level because, first of all, it's a precursor to the problems and solutions that you would make in the real world,” he added. “And very, very appreciative of all those including the coaches and mentors and relatives and everybody who borrowed money from me when you did make it.”
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 noted that he was the product of a successful NAIA program at a time when pro players didn’t often come from that level.
“It was back in those days when schools that size, or lack of size, weren't expected to make it in the NFL or at least have a great impact if they did make it,” he said. “So my college team, we had seven kids on my college team that went to the pros, whether as a free agent or as a draft.
“So it kind of solidified our brand of football and the transition that we had to make as small NAIA school into the major stage of playing in the NFL. And so very, very proud of that.”
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.