We’re always happy to pay tribute to the giants of the past whose shoulders we proudly stand on. With a tradition of recognizing and honoring the accomplishments of the brightest and best from our industry, we are happy to present the past winners below. If you’d like more information, feel free to get in touch.
Ross Browner, a former Notre Dame defensive lineman, was an exceptional athlete with a successful college and professional league career. His time at the University of Notre Dame from 1973 to 1977 was filled with achievements and accolades. As a four-year starter, he was a two-time consensus All-American and helped lead the team to a 39-7 record and two national championships. Browner's impressive performances earned him numerous awards, including the Outland Trophy, the Lombardi Trophy, and the Maxwell Award, making him the only lineman in the decade of the 1970s to win the Maxwell Award.
In 1978, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Browner as the first-round draft pick. During his nine seasons with the Bengals, he was voted the team's Most Valuable Player in 1978 and set the Super Bowl record for tackles by a defensive lineman in Super Bowl XVI. Although he briefly left the Bengals to play for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL in 1985, he returned to the Bengals later that year. Browner played his final season with the Green Bay Packers in 1987.
Browner's contributions to the sport were recognized when he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999. After retiring from football, he worked in several industries, including sports entertainment, cleaning, insurance, and mortgages, before finding his niche in real estate. Browner was the proud father of two sons, one of whom, Max Starks, followed in his footsteps and played in the NFL. Browner's brothers were also former NFL players, demonstrating that athletic ability ran in the family.
Browner passed away Jan 4, 2022. He was 67 years old.