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Marlin the Magician Brisoce - 70s Bill - Passes Away


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8 minutes ago, ColoradoBills said:

 

Agree.  I had to look it up to see if it was only 3 and it was.

1970 he was a Pro Bowler with over 1,000 yards with an 18.2 yard per reception.

He was one of my favorites!

 

RIP.

 

For the people who don’t personally remember the era, 1,000 yards was not common the way it is now in the passing age with more games every season. He did that in only 14 games, much like some of the OJ records. And 18.2 YPR is crazy good any time! 

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1 hour ago, Stranded in Boston said:

The Bills 1971 squad had Briscoe (who had averaged 18 yards/catch in 1970 as half of a dynamic duo with rookie Dennis Shaw), Haven Moses and rookies JD Hill (4th pick overall) and Bobby Chandler-- plus OJ and rookie Jim Braxton in the backfield. All that offensive firepower was wasted: the o-line was a complete sieve that year, and the defense bad as well (excepting my man Robert James!). The Bills started 0-10 and finished 1-13, their worst-ever season. But Briscoe still has his moments, and his trade to Miami netted Joe DeLamielleure in the '73 draft. Briscoe ended up with two super bowl rings in Miami; win-win I guess! ... RIP, Marlin the Magician ...

I liked Briscoe more than Joe D.  RIP Marlin.

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1 hour ago, Augie said:

 

I think we’ve all known some guy who could just pick up a sport and be better at it than everyone else. Well, this is that, and then some! I’m not sure when the Magician became part of his moniker, but it seemed very fitting. He was one of my favorites in the day. It felt like he was with us more than 3 seasons because he was so incredibly talented and memorable. 

 

RIP. 

I remember watching him play for Miami when I was young. But not in great detail.  Who would you compare him to in the modern age?  Anyone on today's Bills?  Maybe Isiah McKenzie.

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22 hours ago, ColoradoBills said:

 

Agree.  I had to look it up to see if it was only 3 and it was.

1970 he was a Pro Bowler with over 1,000 yards with an 18.2 yard per reception.

He was one of my favorites!

 

RIP.

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwia_dLf4874AhUTJEQIHWsECZ4QtwJ6BAgEEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DUUQhuwA4Yzg&usg=AOvVaw08lIlbnpsmWIZpicEsKsya

 

OK, somebody can do that better than that, but I found it informative, and very touching. Disturbing, yet encouraging.  (EDIT: wrong link, but I’m leaving it in there.) 

 

I did not know, for example, that Lou Saban made him the first black QB to start in the AFL when they were together in Denver. 

 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwia_dLf4874AhUTJEQIHWsECZ4QtwJ6BAgDEAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DLsYi97F5-xo&usg=AOvVaw0myJGry_TXZDHRYNRRcLuu

 

EDIT: the 2nd one is better, IMO. 

 

I think his story should be told here as much as possible. 

 

 

 

.

Edited by Augie
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4 hours ago, Paup 1995MVP said:

I remember watching him play for Miami when I was young. But not in great detail.  Who would you compare him to in the modern age?  Anyone on today's Bills?  Maybe Isiah McKenzie.

 

On today's Bills?

 

No one.

 

Though both are finesse receivers Briscoe was more of a deep threat and field stretcher than McKenzie. He had really large hands too and could make the one handed grab.

 

IMO Briscoe was pretty similar to Jerry Butler (Bills 1979-86), a brilliant finesse receiver who had an injury-shortened career.

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4 hours ago, Paup 1995MVP said:

I remember watching him play for Miami when I was young. But not in great detail.  Who would you compare him to in the modern age?  Anyone on today's Bills?  Maybe Isiah McKenzie.


Marlin was more acrobatic than McKenzie is and was a better route runner with good hands. Ironically the player that came to me as comparable is Lamar Jackson, even though he’s a qb, because of his skill set. Evidently Bill Polian also saw Lamar’s skills at wr as a fit as he said that would be his best position as a pro. Marlin was a pure joy to watch. 

 

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I think it's hard to talk about Marlin Briscoe without talking about his teammate James Harris and the parallels in their careers as they struggled as black quarterbacks during the racially tumultuous 1960s. Central figures in this story include OJ Simpson, Lou Saban, Jack Kemp, Chuck Knox, Tom Flores, and others.

 

Consider (with help from Wiki):

 

Marlin Briscoe:

  • Drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1968.
  • On October 6th became the first black QB to start a game in the AFL and in the modern era of pro football.
  • Briscoe threw 14 touchdown passes that year in just 5 starts, including 4 on Nov 24 against Buffalo; both are still Broncos rookie records. He also threw for 335 yards in that game, a rookie record that stood until John Elway broke it in 1983, and one of only three 300+ yard rookie games in franchise history.
  • Before the 1969 season started, Briscoe, still determined to play quarterback, discovered that Denver head coach Lou Saban intended to use Pete Liske as the starter, so he asked to be released. He went to the AFL's Buffalo Bills where he was turned into a receiver, since the Bills already had superstar Jack Kemp, former Pro Bowler Tom Flores, and James Harris, another black quarterback with a more prototypical 6-foot-4 and 210-pound frame.
  • Briscoe never played quarterback again, but he enjoyed a splendid career. He led Buffalo in touchdown catches in each of his three seasons there and in receptions twice. In 1970 he was in the top two in receptions and receiving yards and became an All-Pro.
  • After the AFL-NFL merger, he played in the National Football League from 1970 though 1976, mostly with American Football Conference  teams. In 1971, the Bills traded Briscoe to the Miami Dolphins for the first-round draft pick used to take Joe Delamiellure, who developed as a Hall of Fame guard.
  • Briscoe went on to win a pair of Super Bowls. Briscoe led the undefeated 1972 team with four touchdown receptions and was the leading receiver on the Dolphins in 1973, catching more passes than future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Paul Warfield.
  • A biopic titled The Magician, based on Briscoe's life, has been under development for several years. Canadian actor Lyriq Bent has been approached to portray Briscoe in the film. In 2016, the University of Nebraska Omaha, Briscoe's alma mater, honored him by unveiling a statue.

James Harris:

  • In 1969 Harris was drafted in the eighth round of the Common Draft by the American Football League’s Buffalo Bills, and would soon join fellow rookie O.J. Simpson in the starting backfield.
  • On September 14, 1969 the Bills made Harris the first black player to start a season at quarterback in the history of pro football.
  • Harris was also just the second black player in the modern era to start in any game as quarterback for a professional football team. Wide receiver Marlin Briscoe, of the AFL's Denver Broncos, had been the first to start a game at quarterback in 1968, and a few of Harris's completions in 1969 went to Briscoe, who, by that time, had been traded to the Bills and had been converted to the position of receiver.
  • In 1973, Harris was the understudy to veteran John Hadl as the Rams went 12-2 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1969. As the 1974 season began, the Rams offense sputtered under Hadl and the team stood at 3-2 after five games.
  • In an effort to spark the Los Angeles offense, Rams head coach Chuck Knox promoted Harris as the starting quarterback. In his starting debut for the Rams against the San Francisco 49ers, Harris completed 12 of 15 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another as the Rams won easily, 37-14, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The performance earned Harris a perfect passer rating for the game. Two days later, Hadl was then traded to Green Bay, and Harris became the Rams' first-string quarterback for the remainder of the 1974 season. The football world was stunned by the bold move. However, Harris came through by leading the team to seven wins in its last nine regular-season games. He led the team to its second straight NFC Western Division title, which was also their first playoff victory (19-10 over the Washington Redskins) since 1951.
  • Harris thus became the first African-American quarterback to start and win an NFL playoff game. The Rams lost the NFC Championship Game to the Minnesota Vikings 14-10. Harris was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team in 1974 and was awarded MVP of that game.
  • The strong-armed Harris helped lead the team to another division title in 1975.
  • Harris, in turn, became the first African-American to open a season as his team's starting quarterback in National Football League history.
  • "As a quarterback, I had done all I could, more than most people could, but it still wasn't enough for the Los Angeles Rams organization to accept me as a quarterback, not a black quarterback," he commented. At the time of his departure, Harris held the highest career completion average of any quarterback in Rams team history (55.4%) and had been an integral part of three straight NFC West Champions. Harris was deeply upset by his trade from a perennial playoff team to a team in rebuilding mode and also by losing his status as a starting quarterback. Nonetheless, Harris maintained a good relationship with Chuck Knox until the latter's death in 2018.
  • Harris served as the Baltimore Ravens Director of Pro Personnel from 1997 to 2003. During his tenure, the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. In 2003, Harris left the Ravens organization and went on to serve as the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Jacksonville Jaguars, resigning on December 23, 2008. He also served on the NFL subcommittee on college relations.
  • On February 2, 2009, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Detroit Lions were set to hire Harris as a personnel executive. On February 12, 2009, the Detroit Lions officially named Harris as Senior Personnel Executive. Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew has a long history with Harris, and indicated he was the only individual who was offered the job. Harris assisted in all areas of player personnel in an advisory role. He is no longer employed by the NFL. He officially "retired from the NFL" on February 27, 2015.
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He was one of the first players whose name I could remember as he joined the team just as I was learning that there was this thing called "football". 

The "Magician" name tag was spot on. I am sorry he is gone and grateful for all the magic he made happen on the field that I was privileged to see.

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15 hours ago, WotAGuy said:

Hated him for that game against the Bills when he hit Floyd Little for a long TD in the closing seconds. Loved him when he played for the Bills. The Magician!  Lost track of him after he was traded.  Didn’t know he played for 3 more teams after Miami. Too bad Saban didn’t allow him to get a shot at QB. He was dynamic. 

Check this out. It's the first game highlighted that week on AFL Highlights. 

 

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17 hours ago, RoyBatty is alive said:

He was great watching him pay, especially quarterback when it was so controversial.  The Bills were terrible but I grew up the year he and Eddie Ruthkowski were thrown in as emergency QBs in the old AFL, fantastic memories, Bills dont get enough credit for that or for James Harris.

I’m pretty sure he never played QB for Buffalo.

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15 hours ago, First Round Bust said:

back at that time, the daze of my misspent youth...I thought we were on to something with the rebuild...had a very talented group of WR in Briscoe and Haven Moses, JD Hill (2 of those 3 were number 1 picks)...couple of early second-round picks in Dennis Shaw (qb) and Jan White (TE) and then the back-to-back USC number 1  picks OJ and AC (who made more fame together in the LAPD White Ford Bronco chase scene than we "initially"[pardon the pun] thought)...just goes to show we didn't have the right qb and our TE woes continued for decades...then the bad trades of Briscoe, Moses, James Harris, Dunaway, etc and the missed drafts of Patulski, Dokes, Nebraska LB Twins (Ruud, Nelson), Gant, etc, etc...no wonders we  made the playoffs once during the 1970s (wildcard loss to Pitts) and the 0h for the decade against the Dolphins...SMH

I think you mean Mcdole, not Dunaway.

15 hours ago, WotAGuy said:

Bob Nelson did and was forgettable, obviously. 🤣

Ruud actually played 3 years and Nelson became a starter for 2 years on some pretty good Raiders teams I believe.

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9 hours ago, John Gianelli said:

Check this out. It's the first game highlighted that week on AFL Highlights. 

 

 

This was an exciting game.  Thanks for posting.  But it was from some other world in some other universe where the player wearing 78 wasn't named Bruce Smith and the guy wearing 32 wasn't OJ.  Very disconcerting!

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On 6/28/2022 at 7:11 AM, Augie said:

 

I think we’ve all known some guy who could just pick up a sport and be better at it than everyone else. Well, this is that, and then some! I’m not sure when the Magician became part of his moniker, but it seemed very fitting. He was one of my favorites in the day. It felt like he was with us more than 3 seasons because he was so incredibly talented and memorable. 

 

RIP. 

 

 

Yup. Great player to watch.

 

My suspicion is that if given the chance he'd have been another Tyrod at QB. But maybe more. Maybe better. Hard to say, since he never got a long-term chance.

 

But man, was he fun to watch at WR. So so quick and smooth.

 

 

23 hours ago, Sierra Foothills said:

 

On today's Bills?

 

No one.

 

Though both are finesse receivers Briscoe was more of a deep threat and field stretcher than McKenzie. He had really large hands too and could make the one handed grab.

 

IMO Briscoe was pretty similar to Jerry Butler (Bills 1979-86), a brilliant finesse receiver who had an injury-shortened career.

 

 

Butler, maybe. I was thinking the young Sanders, but Briscoe was maybe as good in the short to intermediate range but was more of a deep threat.

 

 

Edited by Thurman#1
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14 hours ago, John Gianelli said:

Check this out. It's the first game highlighted that week on AFL Highlights. 

 

 

 

Wow!!! Great memories!! So many familiar names. And I love the old-fashioned slo-mo highlights.

 

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On 6/28/2022 at 12:18 AM, Sierra Foothills said:

I think it's hard to talk about Marlin Briscoe without talking about his teammate James Harris and the parallels in their careers as they struggled as black quarterbacks during the racially tumultuous 1960s. Central figures in this story include OJ Simpson, Lou Saban, Jack Kemp, Chuck Knox, Tom Flores, and others.

 

Consider (with help from Wiki):

 

Marlin Briscoe:

  • Drafted by the Denver Broncos in 1968.
  • On October 6th became the first black QB to start a game in the AFL and in the modern era of pro football.
  • Briscoe threw 14 touchdown passes that year in just 5 starts, including 4 on Nov 24 against Buffalo; both are still Broncos rookie records. He also threw for 335 yards in that game, a rookie record that stood until John Elway broke it in 1983, and one of only three 300+ yard rookie games in franchise history.
  • Before the 1969 season started, Briscoe, still determined to play quarterback, discovered that Denver head coach Lou Saban intended to use Pete Liske as the starter, so he asked to be released. He went to the AFL's Buffalo Bills where he was turned into a receiver, since the Bills already had superstar Jack Kemp, former Pro Bowler Tom Flores, and James Harris, another black quarterback with a more prototypical 6-foot-4 and 210-pound frame.
  • Briscoe never played quarterback again, but he enjoyed a splendid career. He led Buffalo in touchdown catches in each of his three seasons there and in receptions twice. In 1970 he was in the top two in receptions and receiving yards and became an All-Pro.
  • After the AFL-NFL merger, he played in the National Football League from 1970 though 1976, mostly with American Football Conference  teams. In 1971, the Bills traded Briscoe to the Miami Dolphins for the first-round draft pick used to take Joe Delamiellure, who developed as a Hall of Fame guard.
  • Briscoe went on to win a pair of Super Bowls. Briscoe led the undefeated 1972 team with four touchdown receptions and was the leading receiver on the Dolphins in 1973, catching more passes than future Pro Football Hall of Famer, Paul Warfield.
  • A biopic titled The Magician, based on Briscoe's life, has been under development for several years. Canadian actor Lyriq Bent has been approached to portray Briscoe in the film. In 2016, the University of Nebraska Omaha, Briscoe's alma mater, honored him by unveiling a statue.

James Harris:

  • In 1969 Harris was drafted in the eighth round of the Common Draft by the American Football League’s Buffalo Bills, and would soon join fellow rookie O.J. Simpson in the starting backfield.
  • On September 14, 1969 the Bills made Harris the first black player to start a season at quarterback in the history of pro football.
  • Harris was also just the second black player in the modern era to start in any game as quarterback for a professional football team. Wide receiver Marlin Briscoe, of the AFL's Denver Broncos, had been the first to start a game at quarterback in 1968, and a few of Harris's completions in 1969 went to Briscoe, who, by that time, had been traded to the Bills and had been converted to the position of receiver.
  • In 1973, Harris was the understudy to veteran John Hadl as the Rams went 12-2 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1969. As the 1974 season began, the Rams offense sputtered under Hadl and the team stood at 3-2 after five games.
  • In an effort to spark the Los Angeles offense, Rams head coach Chuck Knox promoted Harris as the starting quarterback. In his starting debut for the Rams against the San Francisco 49ers, Harris completed 12 of 15 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for another as the Rams won easily, 37-14, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The performance earned Harris a perfect passer rating for the game. Two days later, Hadl was then traded to Green Bay, and Harris became the Rams' first-string quarterback for the remainder of the 1974 season. The football world was stunned by the bold move. However, Harris came through by leading the team to seven wins in its last nine regular-season games. He led the team to its second straight NFC Western Division title, which was also their first playoff victory (19-10 over the Washington Redskins) since 1951.
  • Harris thus became the first African-American quarterback to start and win an NFL playoff game. The Rams lost the NFC Championship Game to the Minnesota Vikings 14-10. Harris was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team in 1974 and was awarded MVP of that game.
  • The strong-armed Harris helped lead the team to another division title in 1975.
  • Harris, in turn, became the first African-American to open a season as his team's starting quarterback in National Football League history.
  • "As a quarterback, I had done all I could, more than most people could, but it still wasn't enough for the Los Angeles Rams organization to accept me as a quarterback, not a black quarterback," he commented. At the time of his departure, Harris held the highest career completion average of any quarterback in Rams team history (55.4%) and had been an integral part of three straight NFC West Champions. Harris was deeply upset by his trade from a perennial playoff team to a team in rebuilding mode and also by losing his status as a starting quarterback. Nonetheless, Harris maintained a good relationship with Chuck Knox until the latter's death in 2018.
  • Harris served as the Baltimore Ravens Director of Pro Personnel from 1997 to 2003. During his tenure, the Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV. In 2003, Harris left the Ravens organization and went on to serve as the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Jacksonville Jaguars, resigning on December 23, 2008. He also served on the NFL subcommittee on college relations.
  • On February 2, 2009, the Detroit Free Press reported that the Detroit Lions were set to hire Harris as a personnel executive. On February 12, 2009, the Detroit Lions officially named Harris as Senior Personnel Executive. Lions General Manager Martin Mayhew has a long history with Harris, and indicated he was the only individual who was offered the job. Harris assisted in all areas of player personnel in an advisory role. He is no longer employed by the NFL. He officially "retired from the NFL" on February 27, 2015.

James Harris had a gun for an arm and should have become a starter for the Bills but we lacked patience and vision and most of all talent in our front office thru the late 60s and most of the 70s...sigh..

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