DETROIT - OCTOBER 16: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions lies on the ground after being sacked by Justin Smith #94 of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game at Ford Field on October 16, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The 49ers defeated the Lions 25-19. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

2011 NFL Awards: Jim Harbaugh Named NFL Coach Of The Year

The 49ers wrapped up a huge turnaround with their 13-3 season and now get a chance to receive numerous awards for their huge success. We'll track all the awards through the offseason. For more on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation.

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NFL Defensive Player Of The Year: Terrell Suggs Edges Out Justin Smith, Jared Allen

The NFL announced the 2011 AP Defensive Player of the Year and Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs took home the hardware. He beat out a strong class of defensive players including Jared Allen, Justin Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Charles Woodson. Suggs claimed 21 of the 50 votes, with Jared Allen finishing second with 14 votes.

The 49ers overall strong defense benefited their players, but likely led to a bit of a vote-split. Justin Smith was named quite frequently by the coaching staff as the team MVP. NaVorro Bowman made a monster leap from his rookie season to year two as he replaced Takeo Spikes. Patrick Willis was consistently strong as well, and able to mix things up a bit more in coverage with Bowman able to handle things underneath with more ease.

The 49ers defense has some holes it may need to fill in the offseason with Carlos Rogers and Dashon Goldson hitting free agency. Fortunately they are in good hands with a dominant trio like Smith, Willis and Bowman in their front seven.


2011 NFL Awards: Jim Harbaugh Named Coach Of The Year

Before the tape-delayed 2011 NFL Awards show aired, the NFL Tweeted that San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has been named the 2011 NFL Coach of the Year.

San Francisco @49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh named Coach of the Year. #nflhonors 23 minutes ago via TweetDeck · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Harbaugh led the 49ers to a 13-3 record in his first season as head coach, winning the NFC West for the first time since 2002. Once they were in the playoffs, they upset the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round and made it to the NFC Championship game where they were defeated by the Giants.

Harbaugh is the first 49ers coach to be named the NFL Coach of the Year since Bill Walsh won the award in 1981 for leading the Niners to a 13-3 regular season record and a Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Harbaugh received 45 of the 50 votes, while three went to Packers coach Mike McCarthy and two went to Broncos coach John Fox.

According from the Los Angeles Times' Sam Farmer, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith accepted the award and gave a speech on behalf of his head coach.

For more on the 49ers, visit Niners Nation.


2011 NFL Defensive Rookie Of the Year: Von Miller Claims Award, Aldon Smith Finishes Second

The NFL is handing out their postseason hardware Saturday evening in Indianapolis, and while the show is being aired on tape-delay at 9pm ET/PT, the awards news is flowing out fairly quickly. The folks at the NFL have been tweeting out the results and they just announced the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year. Broncos linebacker Von Miller won the award with 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith coming in second. Miller finished with 39 of the 50 votes, while Smith grabbed the remaining 11.

It was a solid year for both rookies, with strong cases available for both. Von Miller won in part because he was an every-down linebacker and was part of a Broncos defense that deserved as much credit as Tebow for the Broncos resurgence. Aldon Smith deserved to win because he put together one of the most dominant rookie pass rushing seasons ever. He finished with 14 sacks, coming up a half sack short of Jevon Kearse's rookie record.

As the 49ers move into 2012, they will look to work Smith into their 3-4 starting lineup and not just their nickel package. He showed improvement dropping into coverage and defending against the run. Ahmad Brooks is a free agent this year and it is possible the 49ers will let Brooks walk if they think Smith can be an every-down guy in his second season.


NFL Awards TV Schedule: NBC To Air 'NFL Honors' Program Night Before Super Bowl

2012 will see the NFL join other sports leagues in providing a nationally televised broadcast of their annual postseason honors. The night before Super Bowl XLVI, the NFL will host the inaugural "NFL Honors" live from Indianapolis on NBC. The show will air from 9pm to 11pm ET/PT and be preceded by a Red Carpet show.

The NFL will present 15 awards that evening, ranging from Most Valuable Player to Comeback Player of the Year to the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year. The 49ers look to be well-represented among the finalists for these awards. Aldon Smith is battling Von Miller and Ryan Kerrigan Defensive Rookie of the Year. Justin Smith has an outside shot at Defensive Player of the Year. Jim Harbaugh would seem to be a lock for Coach of the Year, although I suppose anything is possible.

Alex Smith might have a shot at Comeback Player of the Year, although the most common argument against it is that he didn't reach a pinnacle to fall from. You could argue he is coming back after falling from the high expectations of being the number one overall pick, but I don't expect most to buy into that.

Here is a rundown of all the words to be presented Saturday, February 4:

AP Most Valuable Player

Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year

AP Coach of the Year presented by XFINITY, only from Comcast

AP Comeback Player of the Year presented by Van Heusen

AP Offensive Player of the Year presented by Castrol

AP Defensive Player of the Year

AP Offensive Rookie of the Year presented by Pepsi Max

AP Defensive Rookie of the Year presented by Pepsi Max

Pepsi Rookie of the Year

GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year

NFL .com Fantasy Player of the Year presented by Papa John's

Play of the Year presented by Bridgestone

Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award presented by Prilosec OTC

Salute To Service Award Presented by USAA

Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award


49ers Aldon Smith Named 2011 PFW/PFWA Defensive Rookie of the Year

After finishing the season only half a sack shy of Jevon Kearse’s 1999 rookie record of 14.5, San Francisco 49ers Aldon Smith was named the 2011 PFW/PFWA defensive player of the year, according to the Bay Area Sports Guy.

Smith accrued 37 tackles and 2 forced fumbles along the way as well, edging Broncos rookie Von Miller for this year’s DROY award. He also broke the franchise record for sacks by a rookie as well.

Although these aren’t the AP awards, the more prestigious of the two, the two entities have only differed in opinion four times since the late 1960’s, with the latest coming in 2004 with the AP picking Dunta Robinson from the Texans and PFW/PFWA selecting Jonathan Vilma from the Saints.

Other 49ers to have won this award include Patrick Willis (2007), Dana Stubblefield (1993), and Bruce Taylor (1970), the opposite of lightweights to say the least.

For more on the 49ers, make sure you check out Niners Nation to get in on the action.


PFW/PFWA 2011 All-NFL Team: Patrick Willis, Justin Smith Among Four 49ers

Defensive tackle Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis, punter Andy Lee and placekicker David Akers named to PFW/PFWA All-NFL team.


AP 2011 NFL All-Pro Team: 49ers' Justin Smith Voted Onto All-Pro Team Twice

The San Francisco 49ers had a spectacular season in 2011, exceeding all expectations. En route to capturing the No. 2 seed in the NFC as one of the top teams in all of football, many Niners players had standout seasons. Perhaps none moreso than Justin Smith, who made history when the AP 2011 NFL All-Pro Team selections were announced.

Smith does not play a historically flashy position, nor is his performance in 2011 augmented by gaudy numbers. But the 3-4 defensive end played a tremendous year and his team benefited greatly from his continued presence on the field. Aldon Smith, for example, came up just 0.5 sacks short of the all-time rookie record for sacks, largely due to Smith being around, clearing paths.

The voters for the All-Pro Team were certainly taking notice, however. Smith was named to the First Team as defensive tackle and named to the Second Team as a defensive end.

49ers PR Director Bob Lange shared some factoids on Twitter Friday night about the unprecedented nature of the vote:

Per AP - #49ers Justin Smith is 1st player ever named 1st and 2nd team AP All-Pro at diff. positions in same phase of the game - DT & DE
Jan 07 via Twitter for iPadFavoriteRetweetReply

Deion Sanders was named 1st team kick returner and 2nd team CB in '92. Only player other than J.Smith named 1st & 2nd team at two positions
Jan 07 via Twitter for iPadFavoriteRetweetReply

The All-Pro selections are based on a 4-3 defense, which is why Smith ended up primarily as a DT after the vote. Smith does play at defensive tackle when the Niners run with the nickel defense.

For all news and information regarding the San Francisco 49ers, please visit Niners Nation.


AP 2011 NFL All-Pro Team: Five 49ers Selected

The 49ers had five players selected to the AP 2011 NFL All-Pro Team.

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