Obscure Athletes bids a solemn farewell to a great man, and a great professional. Frank Tripuka passed away at age 85 today. He was the first quarterback to ever suit up for the Denver Broncos, when in 1960, he stepped down as assistant coach, to take on the role of QB. That’d be like Wade Phillips taking over at quarterback in the absence of a healthy Matt Schaub.
Tripuka was the first quarterback in the history of pro football to throw for 3,000 yards in a season, during the high-flying inaugural AFL season of 1960. You cannot talk about the early days of the AFL, and by extension, NFL history, without briefly touching on the career of Canadian and American football great, Frank Tripuka. Our thoughts are with his family.