On the eve of Super Bowl XLVI, the National Football League held its inaugural postseason “NFL Honors” award show Saturday night. The primetime television event, hosted by Alec Baldwin, saw a blend of current and former stars of pro football being highlighted throughout the show.
In the opening minutes, various camera pans through the crowd spotted 49ers Hall of Famers Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young in addition to current players like Patrick Willis and Vernon Davis.
Soon after, the 49ers successful season came into focus.
In the second award of the evening, Jim Harbaugh was named Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, making him the first 49ers coach to receive the honor since Bill Walsh did it in 1981.
Both Harbaugh and the Hall of Fame 49ers coach went to the NFC Championship game in their respective seasons as AP Coach of the Year and both did it with 49ers teams coming off 6-10 records.
Alex Smith, who was in contention for the AP’s Comeback Player of the Year, accepted the award on Harbaugh’s behalf.
Dressed in a black suit with white dress shirt and black tie, Smith stepped out of his seat between Davis and All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman to receive the trophy on stage for his coach not in attendance.
“I was trying to think about what Coach Harbaugh would say if he was here,” began Smith in his acceptance speech for the 49ers coach who went 13-3 in his first year in San Francisco, “he probably would say he doesn’t deserve this. It’s just the type of guy he is. He’d give all the credit to the players, to the assistant coaches. That’s just who he is.
“From someone who’s had one or two coaches in his career, I would tell you this is well-deserved. Congratulations, coach. Thank you.”
Several current and former 49ers were highlighted throughout the remainder of the show as well.
Following Harbaugh’s honor, Rice and Young later presented an award along with former 49ers defensive back Deion Sanders for Comeback Player of the Year, eventually won by Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Three All-Pro 49ers defenders, Willis, Bowman and defensive tackle Justin Smith, were all in contention for the AP’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs took home the honor.
Rookie linebacker Aldon Smith was edged in the AP’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award by Broncos linebacker Von Miller.
Tags: Aldon Smith, Alex Smith, Jerry Rice, Jim Harbaugh, Joe Montana, Navorro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Steve Young, Vernon Davis
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