The Saints offensive line has been selected as the winner of the2011 Madden 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, during a press event in Indianapolis earlier today. Accepting the trophy on behalf of the New Orleans Saints were offensive linemen Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Zach Strief, Brian De La Puente and Jermon Bushrod.
As a proud seven-year sponsor of the NFL, Prilosec OTC presents the Madden Protectors Awardto recognize the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams' success by providing reliable protection on game day, just as Prilosec OTC can provide 24-hour heartburn protection when used as directed. The selection process was based on a number of measures including offensive line statistics -- sacks allowed, rushing and passing yardage, time of possession, O-line penalties, third- and fourth-down conversion percentages, red-zone scoring conversions, fan voting plus Madden's own personal observations throughout the season.
The Saints players providing the powerful protection throughout the season were tackles Zach Strief, Northwestern and Jermon Bushrod, Towson; guards Carl Nicks, Nebraska and Jahri Evans, Bloomsburg; and center Brian De La Puente, California. Adding depth on the offensive line were, Charles Brown, USC and Matt Tennant, Boston College.
"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," Madden said. "All season long, these five guys proved they had the mental and physical toughness that enabled the Saints offense to put up big 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 New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and the New England Patriots.
Contributing to their Madden Protectors Award win, the New Orleans Saints offensive line provided reliable run blocking and powerful pass protection for the top-ranked offense in the NFL. The Saints led the league in yards per game (467.1) and ranked 2nd in sacks allowed (24 sacks). They also ranked 1st in total passing yards on the season (5,347), 6th in total rushing yards (2127), and finished 2nd in total points scored on the season (547).
Weighing 102 pounds, the Madden Protectors Award trophy is the heaviest trophy in NFL and serves as attribute to the NFL's best offensive line.
Prilosec OTC Madden Protectors Award Finalists
The Broncos' offensive line paved the way for the NFL's top-rated (by yards per game) rushing game, in addition to guiding Tim Tebow toward a breakout season that resulted in the AFC West crown.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers' offensive line helped the team record the most total points in the NFL this season, in addition to the third-best offensive production (by yards per game) in the league.
The Texans' offensive line helped the team finish the season with the NFL's second-best rushing attack (by yards per game) and earn the first division title and playoff appearance in team history.
New England Patriots
The Patriots' offensive line helped the team finish the season with the NFL's third-best offense (by yards per game) as New England earned the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed.
New Orleans Saints