‘‘It’s truly a blessing to be up there — to be able to stand, first and foremost,’’ said Griffin, who underwent knee surgery last month.
Next season, ‘‘you'll see a better Robert Griffin,’’ he said.
— Barry Wilner
PETERSON OFFENSIVE POY
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson went from major knee surgery to dominating voting in The Associated Press 2012 NFL Offensive Player of the Year award.
It helps that he rushed for 2,109 yards, 9 short of Eric Dickerson’s record.
Peterson had 36 of 50 votes; Denver quarterback Peyton Manning had eight.
Peterson scored 12 touchdowns rushing and averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
— Barry Wilner
WATT ALMOST SWEEPS
Houston end J.J. Watt just missed being a unanimous pick for AP’s 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
The final vote tally with 50 voters:
Watt, 49. Denver linebacker Von Miller, 1.
Watt is the first Texans player to win the award.
— Barry Wilner
INTERIM TO TOP
Bruce Arians is the first interim coach to win the top NFL award from The Associated Press.
He won 2012 Coach of the Year honors Saturday night for his work with the Indianapolis Colts. Arians now is head coach in Arizona.
Arians took charge of the Colts in late September after head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. The Colts, 2-14 the previous season, went 9-3 under Arians and made the playoffs.
Pagano coached the final game of the regular season and a wild-card playoff match.
Arians earned 36½ votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. Pagano finished second with 5½.
KUECHLY WINS DEFENSIVE ROY
Linebacker Luke Kuechly of Carolina has won the Associated Press 2012 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Kuechly, a first-round pick from Boston College, led the league with 164 tackles.
He earned 28 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. That easily outdistanced Seattle LB Bobby Wagner with 11.
— Barry Wilner
RG3 OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF YEAR
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been voted the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Griffin beat out Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck and Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. He was selected by The Associated Press in balloting by a nationwide panel of the media.
Here’s one way to spend your 37th birthday: Flag burning.
That’s how Mike Libber of Baltimore showed his loyalty to the Ravens during Friday night festivities on Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Libber and his friends filled the long but thin balcony at the Voodoo Vibe bar, and asked bar employees to remove a San Francisco 49ers flag dangling next to a Ravens flag.
‘‘Yeah, take that away,’’ Libber said. ‘‘Otherwise, I'll burn it. In fact, let me burn it.’’
Libber eventually scrounged up $60 from his friends and bought the San Francisco flag from a bar manager.
He took it out onto Bourbon Street and began to set it on fire. It didn’t quickly light up.
A crowd gathered, some 49ers fans booed. Moments later, with a small part of the flag burning, New Orleans police officers arrived and stopped the shenanigans.
— Julio Cortez — http://twitter.com/JulioCortez_AP
New Orleans is crawling with celebrities for the Super Bowl, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie don’t appear to be among them.
The windows at the star couple’s house in the French Quarter are all closed tight, and there’s no sign of their omnipresent security. In fact, the only activity at the house is tourists stopping to take photos.
— Nancy Armour — http://www.twitter.com/nrarmour
7 TO HALL, INCLUDING PARCELLS
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will have seven new members.
Coach Bill Parcells, Warren Sapp, Cris Carter, Jonathan Ogden and Larry Allen have all made it to the 2013 class. So have two senior selections, Curley Culp and Dave Robinson.
Five players were eliminated in the final vote: Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed, Michael Strahan and Aeneas Williams.
Earlier Saturday, the selection committee eliminated Tim Brown, Kevin Greene, Will Shields and former owners Edward DeBartolo Jr. and Art Modell.
The next time the 49ers step onto the field at the Superdome, it'll be time for the Super Bowl.
San Francisco finished up on-field preparations on Saturday with a 15-minute walkthrough. The team has meetings Saturday night.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said the stadium lights are brighter than they were when the 49ers beat the New Orleans Saints here on Nov. 25, so getting his players adjusted to that was important.
Harbaugh invited family members and friends — 11 busloads of people — to attend the short session and come down to the field to pose for photographs.Continued...