San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Mike Iupati sits on the sideline during the first quarter of his team’s NFC Championship playoff football game
San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Mike Iupati sits on the sideline during the first quarter of his team's NFC Championship playoff football game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. (Jim Gensheimer/Bay Area News Group)

NEW ORLEANS -- The 49ers offensive line was honored Wednesday as the league's best via John Madden's Most Valuable Protectors Award.

"They have proven they have the mental and physical toughness that enables their team's offense to put up impressive numbers on the ground and in the air," Madden said in a statement.

The 49ers, who will face the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in Super Bowl XLVII, won Madden's weekly honors three times during the season. Left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Mike Iupati each drew Pro Bowl starting nods they couldn't fulfill because of Super Bowl commitments.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) follows the lead block of Joe Staley during the second quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) follows the lead block of Joe Staley during the second quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

"That's been a phenomenal group for us, and I'd call them offensive weapons as well," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The way they have all stayed healthy and played well together, it's really been a strength and a center for our football team."

All five linemen have started every game this season, including first-year starter Alex Boone at right guard.

The Madden Most Valuable Protectors trophy weighs 102 pounds — or 12.3 percent of the combined weight of the 49ers' top seven linemen.

Here is what Harbaugh said of each lineman during a long-winded answer that is divided here:

On left tackle Joe Staley: "A very talented player. Tremendous leadership within the group."


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On center Jonathan Goodwin: "What he's meant to our football team when he first arrived here, we were void at the center position. Jonathan Goodwin has stepped in and started every game, been a great player for us.

On right tackle Anthony Davis: "(His) emergence at right tackle from a toughness standpoint, from a strength standpoint, and just the way he continues to grow and grow and grow as a player."

On left guard Mike Iupati: "(He) has gone to the board as one of the top guards in the National Football League."

On right guard Alex Boone: "Really excited for Alex Boone as an ascending player, as a tough player, as a leader on our football team."

On reserves Leonard Davis and Daniel Kilgore: "They've been instrumental all year in our extra O-Linemen packages, contributions on special teams."