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.
"That's been a phenomenal group for us, and I'd call them offensive weapons as well," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "The
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."
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
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."