METAIRIE, La. ― No matter what Sean Payton keep preaching, the Saints aren't being allowed to move from their Super Bowl-winning 2009 season.

The latest back-step into history came Monday morning, when the offensive line was officially awarded the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.

John Madden, a former lineman, head coach and broadcaster, named the Saints unit the best over the lines from Indianapolis, the Jets, Philadelphia and Tennessee.

'Your offensive line was a model of consistency for the entire 2009 season and established the foundation for the best offensive attack in the NFL,' Madden said in a prepared statement read by Payton, New Orleans' fifth-year head coach.

With the offensive line providing protection, the Saints led the NFL in points per game (31.9) and yards per game (403.8). New Orleans was fourth in passing (272.2), sacks allowed (20) and it was sixth in rushing yards (131.6).

Offensive line coach Aaron Kromer said the award goes to the entire line but partially is a reflection of quarterback Drew Brees having a complete handle on the offense.

Brees, for his part, recognized who was to thank.

'I can't think of a group more deserving of the Most Valuable Protectors Award,' Brees said. 'I'm glad they're on my side.'

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