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The Moops
03-22-2012, 08:06 AM
My farewell to the Magic of #15

As a life-long Broncos fan, there was something unbelievably special about #15. He was unconventional, magical and made so many jaw-dropping plays that hoards of Broncos fans couldn’t believe their good fortune. Who could forget his 4th quarter magic against the Buffalo Bills when he threw for 335 yards and 4 TDs including a last-second Hail Mary pass to Floyd Little who jumped up between 2 players to snag the pass that set up a chip-shot field goal for a dramatic 34-32 come-from-behind victory.

Oh, sorry. I wasn’t talking about Tim Tebow. You see, before Tebowmania ever hit the Mile High City, another equally phenomenal, unconventional QB who wore #15 also enjoyed short-lived success in Denver. His name was Marlin Briscoe.

Just like Tebow’s performances elicited the word “magical,” Briscoe’s nickname was “Marlin the Magician.” During his rookie year in 1968, Briscoe became the game’s first starting African-American QB. In just 5 starts, Briscoe set rookie passing records with 1,589 yards and 14 TDs. More yards and more TDs than John Elway did his rookie year.

Looking back, it appeared that Broncos Coach Lou Saban was a man ahead of his time. Not really. The Broncos, who would finish 5-9 that season, tried to win with starter Steve Tensi before he got hurt. Then Saban tried QB Jim LeClair and John McCormick. No good. Hell, Saban even played rookie punter Joe DiVito at QB before finally handing the ball to Briscoe, his 14th-round pick, all 5-10, 177 pounds of him.

Briscoe created excitement from the get-go, he was a rollout QB who wasn’t afraid to heave it far or tuck the ball and head up field. He rushed for 308 yards for a 7.5 average and 3 TDs. With Floyd Little carrying the ball and catching passes from Briscoe, the Broncos finally had a second weapon. While Briscoe lit up the thin air of Denver with 4 TDs and over 300 yards in the incredible victory over Buffalo, Little accounted for 295 yards of offense including 236 of them rushing and receiving.

But, like the Tebow story, this one had a familiar ending. Briscoe wanted to renegotiate his contract and be paid like a superstar. According to Little, Saban told Briscoe that they only had one superstar on the team and couldn’t pay him the same as their franchise running back. So Briscoe was traded to New York. Buffalo, NY, that is. There he was told he couldn’t play QB and became a receiver.

In 1970, Briscoe became an All-Pro receiver snaring 57 passes for 1,036 yards and 8 TDs. He later played with the Dolphins and won 2 Super Bowl rings.

Looking back at Briscoe’s one-year wonder playing QB with Denver, I can’t help but think what might have been. Will Tebow suffer the same fate now that he too has been traded to NY, and eventually be forced to change positions someday? Only time will tell. But don’t bet on it.

Two QBs. Both wore #15 for the Denver Broncos. Both left indelible marks on the city of Denver in a crack of time. Both made believers of legions of fans. Both were ridden of for being different. Both deserved better than what they got.

It’s a sad day for this Bronco fan. But this time, it’s not over. I believe Tebow will carry Briscoe’s magical spirit with him to New York and make it there as a QB for both of them. Like the song says, if he can make it there, he can make it anywhere. Both Briscoe and Tebow already made plenty of believers in Denver.

Tom Mackie is the co-author of Floyd Little’s Tales from the Broncos Sideline. Follow him on twitter @Themoops44 and check out his blog. www.TrueGridiron.com (http://www.TrueGridiron.com).

Tombstone RJ
03-22-2012, 08:37 AM
I understand your affection for Tebow and the comparison to Briscoe is really cool. So many similarities and yes, the Broncos gave up on Briscoe (or actually never really gave him a chance) too soon.

That being said, there is a difference between the Tebow situation and the Briscoe situation and that difference is Manning. It's not like the Broncos just traded away Tebow for no good reason (I'm sure the Broncos could have paid Briscoe more money AND let him play QB but they chose not to).

Too bad you neglect to mention the Manning factor in your article brother.

Gort
03-22-2012, 08:39 AM
Briscoe also got involved with drugs and ended up in prison. i don't think Tebow will make the same mistake.

g6matty
03-22-2012, 08:40 AM
Briscoe also got involved with drugs and ended up in prison. i don't think Tebow will make the same mistake.

thats one way to rain on someones parade lolll

Gort
03-22-2012, 08:51 AM
thats one way to rain on someones parade lolll

i didn't mean it that way. i had Briscoe as my avatar for part of the past season. but Tebow and Briscoe are really very different people. if anybody is going to prove the naysayers about him wrong, it'll be Tebow.

Bronco Rob
03-22-2012, 09:30 AM
Great post M00PZ!



;)

broncosteven
03-22-2012, 09:36 AM
Great take Tom, Brisco was before my time but I have read up on him and seen clips (what little there is) on NFL Films.

UberBroncoMan
03-22-2012, 12:21 PM
I understand your affection for Tebow and the comparison to Briscoe is really cool. So many similarities and yes, the Broncos gave up on Briscoe (or actually never really gave him a chance) too soon.

That being said, there is a difference between the Tebow situation and the Briscoe situation and that difference is Manning. It's not like the Broncos just traded away Tebow for no good reason (I'm sure the Broncos could have paid Briscoe more money AND let him play QB but they chose not to).

Too bad you neglect to mention the Manning factor in your article brother.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marlin_Briscoe

A lot of teams gave up on him...including the Dolphins.

bendog
03-22-2012, 12:28 PM
Saban didn't want a black qb, perhaps. Yet James Harris was already in Buffalo. I saw Briscoe play. Yeah the black thing was discussed. "Blacks aren't qbs." But like your link acknowledges the killer was he was short, even for his era. He was a rollout scrambler with a noodle arm. Fran Tarkington was seen as a novelty who'd never take a team far. Then he calmed down a little and lost two super bowls.

Gort
03-22-2012, 12:44 PM
Saban didn't want a black qb, perhaps. Yet James Harris was already in Buffalo. I saw Briscoe play. Yeah the black thing was discussed. "Blacks aren't qbs." But like your link acknowledges the killer was he was short, even for his era. He was a rollout scrambler with a noodle arm. Fran Tarkington was seen as a novelty who'd never take a team far. Then he calmed down a little and lost two super bowls.

Tarkenton actually lost 3 SBs with Minnesota.

still one of my all-time favorites and often forgotten in modern day discussions about the GOAT QBs.

broncosteven
03-22-2012, 12:46 PM
Saban didn't want a black qb, perhaps. Yet James Harris was already in Buffalo. I saw Briscoe play. Yeah the black thing was discussed. "Blacks aren't qbs." But like your link acknowledges the killer was he was short, even for his era. He was a rollout scrambler with a noodle arm. Fran Tarkington was seen as a novelty who'd never take a team far. Then he calmed down a little and lost two super bowls.

Tarkington lost 3 SB's. I loved him when I was a kid because I was small and always picked to play QB on the bad team in our pickup games. It was just like SB IX every recess. When I got to play QB on the good team I felt like Roger Staubach.

errand
03-22-2012, 04:55 PM
Briscoe also got involved with drugs and ended up in prison. i don't think Tebow will make the same mistake.

Not to mention Briscoe wasn't really that good of a QB....hence the position switch upon arriving in Buffalo....

....and Tebow has too high of character to fall into the typical traps many young players do.

KipCorrington25
03-22-2012, 06:25 PM
Briscoe also got involved with drugs and ended up in prison. i don't think Tebow will make the same mistake.

http://www.nastyhobbit.org/data/media/4/thats-racist.gif

ZachKC
03-22-2012, 10:15 PM
thats one way to rain on someones parade lolll

ROFL!