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Patriots O-line wins most valuable protectors award

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New England Patriots offensive line wins second annual Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award Presented by Prilosec OTC



Powerful protection and reliable run blocking earn Patriots NFL's best offensive line honor and the heaviest trophy in the NFL

CINCINNATI, February 3, 2011 - The New England Patriots added another noteworthy accomplishment to an already impressive 2010 regular season when it was announced that the Patriots offensive line has been selected as the winner of the 2010 Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, presented by Prilosec OTC®. Pro Football Hall of Fame coach John Madden and Prilosec OTC presented the award, which honors the NFL's best offensive line, to New England's front five during a press event in North Texas earlier today. Accepting the trophy on behalf of the New England Patriots were offensive linemen Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly and Mark LeVoir.

"It's a tremendous honor," said Koppen. "A lot of work goes into the season and for a lot of guys, they don't really want the recognition because basically if you get it, you probably did something wrong during the game -- so it's nice to get a little reward after the season for all the hard work that we put in during the year."

As a proud six-year sponsor of the NFL, Prilosec OTC presents the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award to recognize the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams' success by providing reliable protection day in and day out, just as Prilosec OTC can provide 24-hour heartburn protection when used as directed. The award is based on a combination of criteria including offensive line statistics - sacks allowed, rushing and passing yardage, time of possession, O-line penalties, 3rd and 4th down conversion percentages and red zone scoring conversions, fan voting and coach Madden's own personal observations throughout the season.

The Patriots players providing the powerful protection up front this season were tackles Matt Light (Purdue) and Sebastian Vollmer (Houston); guards Dan Connolly (Southeast Missouri State) and Logan Mankins (Fresno State); and center Dan Koppen (Boston College). Adding depth on the Patriots offensive line were, Mark Levoir (Notre Dame), Stephen Neal (Cal State-Bakersfield), Rich Ohrnberger (Penn State), Quinn Ojinnaka (Syracuse) and Ryan Wendell (Fresno State).

"The offensive line doesn't always catch the fans' attention, so Prilosec OTC and I created this award to recognize the guys who provide the critical run blocking and pass protection," said John Madden. "All season long, these guys proved they had the mental and physical toughness that enabled the Patriots offense to put up impressive numbers on the ground and in the air."

Throughout the regular season, Coach Madden closely tracked the top offensive lines in the NFL and narrowed the field of contenders to five (5) finalists: the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants and the New England Patriots. Each of the finalists had been recognized at least once this season by Madden as an "O-Line of the Week" for their consistent and reliable protection.

Contributing to their Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award win, the Patriots offensive line provided reliable run blocking and powerful pass protection for the top-ranked offense in the NFL. The Patriots led the league in points per game (32.4) and ranked 4th in sacks allowed (25). They finished 8th in average yards (363.8), ranked 9th in average rushing yards (123.3) and ranked 11th in passing yards per game (240.4).

Weighing 102 pounds, The Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award trophy is the heaviest trophy in NFL history and is a tribute to the NFL's toughest protectors on the offensive line.

"All the finalists are just as deserving, so we'd like to accept this award on behalf of all offensive linemen everywhere," added Koppen. "We're a tight knit group and it's a big award, so we're going to need everyone to pick it up."

NFL fans who want 24-hour protection against frequent heartburn, which is heartburn that occurs two or more days a week, can take a 14-day course of Prilosec OTC to maximize game day fun. Fans can go to www.PrilosecOTC.com for more information on the 14-day challenge and to see how two of the league's toughest offensive linemen - Giants' David Diehl and Vikings' Anthony Herrera - protected themselves this season against heartburn.

All player participation will be facilitated by NFL PLAYERS, the licensing and marketing subsidiary of the NFL Players Association. Prilosec OTC is the Official Heartburn Remedy Sponsor of the NFL.

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