CHICAGO - During the 2012 Arena Football League season, the Silver Anniversary Committee has been tasked with voting on a number of “Top 25” lists to celebrate 25 seasons of Arena Football. The Committee has voted on categories ranging from the Best Uniforms of the past 25 years to the 25 Greatest Players in AFL History.
The latest Top 25 list announced by the Silver Anniversary Committee ranks the 25 Greatest Ironmen in AFL History. The Committee, which consists of longtime League executives, coaches, media members and former players, was asked to weigh in on which two-way best displayed excellence on the field, showcased the highest level of talent in multiple areas of the game and meant the most to their teams.
The results of the Silver Anniversary Committee’s votes will be unveiled in three segments, beginning with the announcement of Ironmen 11-25.
11. Chad Dukes, FB/LB
An eight-year veteran of the League, Dukes earned All-Arena honors three times in his career as a fullback and linebacker for the Albany Firebirds. In 1997, he rushed for 364 yards and 17 touchdowns, marking the first of his League-record three consecutive seasons with at least 200 yards on the ground. He also finished the 1997 season with a career-high 35 tackles. His finest year came in 1998 when he earned Ironman of the Year honors after rushing for 364 yards and 10 touchdowns on offense and recording 21 tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles on defense. The 255-pound bruiser even returned kicks for the Firebirds, notching 57 returns for 1,274 yards and four scores. He retired from the game in 2007.
12. Andre Bowden, FB/LB
A three-time ArenaBowl champion, Bowden holds the AFL record for most postseason rushing attempts (79) and ranks second in the League in postseason rushing yards (228) and regular season rushing touchdowns (93). Though his prowess was unquestionably in the running game, Bowden also played linebacker during his 10 years with the Tampa Bay Storm. He earned three consecutive All-Arena selections from 1999-2001 and was named to the All-Ironman team in 2000.
13. Kevin Ingram, WR/DB
A top-flight receiver and defensive back, Ingram began his AFL career with the Indiana Firebirds in 2001, but is best known for the following seven seasons he spent with the Los Angeles Avengers. Ingram was a three-time All-Arena and All-Ironman selection and earned Ironman of the Year honors in 2005. That year, he totaled 88 receptions for 1,052 yards and 23 touchdowns to go with 60 tackles, six interceptions and three fumble recoveries on the defensive side of the ball.
14. Cory Fleming, WR/LB
The 1997 AFL Rookie of the Year shined on both sides of the ball for the Nashville Kats, Carolina Cobras and Orlando Predators over the course of his impressive career. The five-time All-Arena selection also earned four All-Ironman nods as a wide receiver and linebacker. Fleming was named Ironman of the Year in 2005 after hauling in 96 balls for 1,089 yards and 33 touchdowns on offense, while totaling 16 tackles and two interceptions on defense. Upon retirement in 2006, Fleming was named the 14th Greatest Player in AFL History by the AFL Historical Committee. In 2012, Fleming was voted the 14th Greatest Receiver in AFL History by the Silver Anniversary Committee.
15. Bob McMillen, FB/LB
McMillen has the unique distinction of earning ArenaBowl championships with three different teams over the course of his 13-year AFL career. The two-time All-Arena player began his career as a fullback and linebacker with the Arizona Rattlers in 1995. He was named to the 15th Anniversary Team in 2001, his first season with the San Jose SaberCats, and earned his first All-Ironman selection in 2004 with the Chicago Rush. That season, he tallied 79 rushes for 285 yards and 22 touchdowns, while collecting 14 tackles and a sack on defense. In 2012, the Silver Anniversary Committee selected McMillen as the 17th Greatest Player in AFL History.
16. John Moyer, OL/DL
A 10-year veteran of the League, Moyer spent seven of those seasons on the defensive line for the Chicago Rush. The four-time All-Arena selection earned All-Ironman honors in 2003 and 2004, taking snaps on both sides of the line. He was named Lineman of the Year in 2004, recording nine sacks and six pass breakups on defense alone. His nickname, “The Hulk”, was selected by “AFL Field Pass” subscribers as the 21st Greatest Nickname in AFL History in 2012.
17. James Roe, WR/LB
Though James Roe has spent the majority of his 11 seasons in a SaberCats uniform catching passes from Mark Grieb, there was a time when the future Hall of Famer played both sides of the ball. For three consecutive seasons (2003-2005), Roe was selected to the All-Ironman Team, seeing action not only at receiver, but at defensive back and linebacker as well. His best season came in 2007, when he set the single-season franchise records for receiving yards and receptions, catching 40 passes for 1,560 yards and helping the SaberCats claim victory in ArenaBowl XXI. In 2012, the Silver Anniversary Committee named Roe the Sixth Greatest Receiver in AFL History.
18. B.J. Cohen, OL/DL
The three-time All-American at Marshall University was equally as impressive in his professional career in the AFL. The 6-foot-2, 280-pound lineman earned All-Arena and All-Ironman honors three times each over 10 seasons in the League. His best season may have come in 2005 as a member of the New Orleans VooDoo when he tallied 28 tackles and nine sacks.
19. Dwayne Dixon, WR/LB
Dixon was an “AFL Original,” joining the League with the Washington Commandos in the League’s inaugural season in 1987. On July 16 of that year, Dixon collected 20 receptions in a game against the Chicago Bruisers, a single-game AFL record that has yet to be broken. In 1988, he joined the expansion Detroit Drive and helped build the first dynasty in Arena Football. He earned Ironman of the Year honors that season after totaling 79 catches for 1,007 yards and 20 touchdowns to go with 50 tackles, six interceptions and five fumble recoveries. Dixon was named Ironman of the Game in ArenaBowl II and would go on to win three championships with the Drive. He was a member of the first AFL Hall of Fame class in 1998 and was named the 15th Greatest Player in AFL History by the Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012.
20. Kyle Moore-Brown, OL/DL
A two-time ArenaBowl champion, Kyle Moore-Brown spent 13 seasons in the AFL, earning three All-Ironman selections and two All-Arena nods. A center by trade, Moore-Brown exhibited dominance on both sides of the line during his AFL career. As a rookie with the Albany Firebirds in 1995, Moore-Brown tallied 10 tackles and three sacks. Though his production was rarely seen on stat lines, his impact on the game was unquestionable.
21. Rashied Davis, WR/DB
Davis may have only spent three seasons in the AFL, but his ability as a two-way player was undeniable. After playing both receiver and defensive back in college, Davis made the transition to Ironman in the AFL look easy. He was named to the All-Ironman team in 2004, but enjoyed his best statistical season in 2005, recording 100 catches for 1,420 yards and 30 touchdowns and setting the single-season franchise record for points scored at 264. He also tallied 46 kick returns for 1,147 yards and six scores that year, which was enough to get him noticed by the Chicago Bears. Davis took his Ironman attitude with him to the NFL and has played receiver and defensive back for both the Bears and Detroit Lions during his outdoor career.
22. Gary Mullen, WR/DB
Mullen won four ArenaBowl championships during his eight-year AFL career, including the very first in League history as a member of the Denver Dynamite in 1987. Though no MVP award was officially awarded by the League in the first ArenaBowl, ESPN selected Mullen as its “MVP of the Game,” following his nine-catch, three-touchdown performance. He was named First-Team All-Arena with the Dynamite in 1987, ranking second in the League in scoring with 66 points and third in interceptions with two. He joined the Detroit Drive in 1989 and immediately began helping the franchise to three ArenaBowl championships in four seasons. He led the League in scoring in 1990 and still holds the record for most career ArenaBowl receiving yards with 465. He was a member of the inaugural AFL Hall of Fame class in 1998 and was named the 25th Greatest Player in AFL History by the Silver Anniversary Committee in 2012.
23. Gary Compton, WR/DB
Gary Compton wore seven different jerseys over the course of his 13-year AFL career, but he spent the majority of his time in the League starring in purple and teal for the Milwaukee Mustangs. He was a First-Team All-Arena selection as a rookie WR/DB with the Dallas Texans in 1992, but moved from his native state of Texas to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1995. For seven years, Compton patrolled both sides of the ball as a receiver and linebacker for the team, earning two more First-Team All-Arena honors along the way. He set the single-game franchise records for receiving yards with 220 in a game against St. Louis in 1995 and receiving touchdowns with six in a 1999 game against Houston. He still owns both marks. His best statistical season came in 1998, when he hauled in 101 balls for 1,484 yards and 33 touchdowns. In 2001, he was honored with the “Built Ford Tough” Man of the Year award and named to the Second-Team 15th Anniversary Team.
24. Jermaine Smith, OL/DL
A 10-year veteran of the AFL, Smith leads all active players in career sacks with 46. Many of those quarterback takedowns came as a lineman with the Georgia Force. In 2007, Smith notched 12 tackles and 8.5 sacks to go with his first interception return for a touchdown in his career. In 2010, he joined the Tampa Bay Storm defensive line, where he recorded 13 more sacks over the next two seasons. Smith has also demonstrated his ability to catch the ball, collecting 11 passes for 129 yards and touchdown in his career. He was assigned to the San Jose SaberCats in 2012.
25. Jarrick Hillery, WR/DB
Hillery burst onto the scene in 2000 as a wide receiver and defensive back for the Nashville Kats. A true all-purpose threat, Hillery tallied nine offensive scores in his first season in the League, but also nabbed three interceptions as a rookie. He earned First-Team All-Arena and All-Ironman recognition in 2001, after scoring six receiving touchdowns and 12 rushing touchdowns, to go with an interception return touchdown on defense and a kick return touchdown on special teams. He finished his career in 2007 with 84 offensive scores, 243 tackles and 11 interceptions.