CHICAGO – In 2006, the AFL Historical Committee selected Eddie Brown as the Greatest Player in AFL History, with Barry Wagner coming in at number two. Five seasons later, the Silver Anniversary Committee again selected Brown and Wagner as the top two players in League history, but the order has changed.
The Silver Anniversary Committee has selected AFL Hall of Famer Barry Wagner as the Greatest Player in AFL History. In 2006, Wagner missed out on the top spot to Brown by a point. This year’s margin of victory for Wagner was much larger, as the two-way legend earned 366 votes, while Brown collected 334.
Wagner was an immediate playmaker as a rookie for the Orlando Predators in 1992. In a game against the Detroit Drive, Wagner orchestrated what has become known as the “Miracle Minute,” where he caught two touchdown passes and a game-winning two-point conversion, recovered an onside kick, and made a game-saving tackle all in the final 60 seconds.
When Brown entered the League in 1994, he also made waves, earning the AFL’s MVP award as a rookie.
“They called him ‘Touchdown’ for a reason,” Mike Hohensee, who coached Brown with the Albany Firebirds, recalled. “I don’t remember ever seeing him drop a pass in the end zone.”
Wagner played 16 seasons in Orlando and San Jose, while Brown spent ten years in Albany and Indiana.
During their time in the League, the two players engaged in perhaps the greatest individual rivalry for one-upmanship the AFL has ever seen. Wagner was an eight-time All-Arena selection, while Brown got the nod four times.
Wagner made seven trips to the ArenaBowl, while Brown made just one – beating Wagner’s Predators in ArenaBowl XIII. Wagner holds the AFL records for touchdowns (410) and points (2,490), while Brown holds the record for most touchdowns in a single game (9).
Brown took home Offensive Player of the Year honors twice (in 1996 and 1999) while Wagner was named Ironman of the Year six consecutive seasons, from his rookie year in 1992 to 1997 – the year he also earned Offensive Player of the Year honors.
Both were inducted into the Arena Football Hall of Fame in 2011.