The Brownlow Medal (formally the Charles Brownlow Trophy) is an individual award given to the player judged fairest and best in the Australian Football League during the regular season. Determined by votes cast by the officiating umpires after each game, it is considered the highest honour for individual players in the AFL. The medal has been awarded every year since 1924, with the exception of an intermission from 1942–1945, due to World War II.
The medal was not awarded between 1942 and 1945, as a mark of respect to soldiers fighting overseas in World War II.
Indicates that medal was awarded retrospectively as a countback rule was enforced until 1980
The voting system in 1976 and 1977 had both field umpires awarding votes, resulting in higher vote tallies than other years.
Ineligible players who polled the most votes
A player who is guilty of an offence deemed worthy of a suspension by the AFL's disciplinary tribunal for serious on-field offences is ineligible to win the Brownlow Medal. Suspended players have tallied the highest number of votes for the award on two occasions.
Since 1924, the voting system for the Brownlow has changed three times.
One vote per game.
Six votes per game: 3 votes, 2 votes, and 1 vote
Twelve votes per game: 3 votes, 2 votes, and 1 vote from each of the two field umpires
The lengths of the home and away season have also changed since 1924.
From 1930 to 1980, a countback system was used to determine the winner in the event of a tie. In 1930, Judkins was awarded the medal as he had played in the fewest games. From 1931 onwards, with the introduction of 3-2-1 voting, the winner was the player with the most three-vote games. In 1980, the countback system was removed – in the event of a tie since then, players are considered joint winners. In 1989, the then VFL awarded retrospective medals to all players who had tied, but lost on countback, prior to 1980.