Marlin Briscoe will check the mailbox every day. Maybe his gift from the White House will land on his Long Beach, Calif., doorstep while he’s completing his morning crossword. Or as he’s watching Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson throw another touchdown. Maybe it will show up on Sept. 10, his 68th birthday. Or later. Briscoe waited a long time for history to find him. Why would his package from the president be any different?
Barry Josephson and his Josephson Entertainment banner are partnering with West Omaha Films to produce The Magician, a biopic of Marlin “The Magician” Briscoe, pro football’s first black starting quarterback.
Marlin Briscoe was recently named as Mile High Report’s Greatest Bronco to Wear #15. Marlin was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 14th round (#357 overall) of the 1968 draft. When negotiating his contract, Briscoe stipulated his desire for a three-day tryout at quarterback before agreeing to sign as a defensive back. When starting quarterback Steve Tensi broke his collarbone and the other quarterbacks performed poorly, Briscoe became the first starting African-American quarterback in the history of the NFL. After just 11 games, he was nominated and became the first runner-up for Rookie of the Year. The Denver Broncos released him from his contract before the start of the 1969 season.
For those who are not aware, February is National Black History Month. And what better way to commemorate this occasion than to celebrate some of the great black athletes that have played for our beloved Broncos.
In September 1968, a radical change was taking place on the goal lines of black civil rights. A Mile High, and a world away from the Vietnam War, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and president Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, one black man ushered in a new era of civil rights in football.
Meet Marlin Briscoe. After breaking every quarterback record at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, when “The Magician” Briscoe was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 14th round, the 5′ 10″, 177 lb quarterback was anticipating playing quarterback at the professional level as well.
Marlin Oliver Briscoe, born September 10, 1945 in Oakland, California, has the distinction of being the first black quarterback to start a Professional Football game. In a time when segregation was still rampant and the belief that African-Americans were inferior and incapable of leadership, Marlin the Magician accomplished something revolutionary. He was a trailblazer for players like James Harris, Warren Moon, Doug Williams and Randall Cunningham to have the opportunity of leading an NFL Offense.
Getting a good movie made is complicated. That’s a lesson the partners in West Omaha Films have been learning for four years now as they push to tell the story of Marlin Briscoe, the first starting black quarterback in NFL history.
As screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard hones the second draft of his script for the movie, tentatively titled “The Magician,” he reflected on what comes next: raising money and hiring a director, cast and crew, known in the business as “attaching elements.”
Gregory Allen Howard, who penned inspirational football movie “Remember the Titans,” is hitting the field again, coming on board to write a screenplay based on the life of Marlin “The Magician” Briscoe, who broke the color barrier in professional football.
After compiling a 2-3 record as a rookie starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos in 1968 and setting a franchise record for touchdown passes thrown by a rookie (14) that still stands to this day, Marlin Briscoe felt pretty secure with his job standing headed into the 1969 season.
Howard will write the script for the tentatively titled The Magician, about the sport’s first African American starting quarterback whose on-field exploits earned him the nickname ‘The Magician’.