DENVER — Von Miller is pulling a Joe Namath and it’s only March.
Denver’s star pass-rusher is already guaranteeing a Super Bowl title for the Broncos next season.
Miller said he’s dedicating the season to his 6-year-old cousin who recently emerged from a coma after a car accident in West Texas that also injured his mother and 8-year-old brother.
On Monday, Miller tweeted: “You can post this where ever.. Denver broncos will win the Super Bowl” in the 2013 season. He added hash tags “4UJEREMIAH” and “IGUARANTEEIT58.”
The linebacker later told The Associated Press that when the boy, Jeremiah Clark-Martinez, came out of his coma, he was asked a series of questions to test his memory and among the first things he said was that his cousin, Von Miller, played for the Denver Broncos.
That inspired Miller to make his pledge.
“I’ve always wanted to win, I’ve always been motivated but when you’re doing something for somebody else, it adds a little bit extra motivation. And I guarantee that we will win the Super Bowl in 2013,” Miller told The AP by phone from New York while on a media tour for AXE skin products.
“I guess you go across our locker room and I’m sure there will be a lot more guys join me in that guarantee,” Miller added. “I don’t see why not. I mean, there’s 32 teams in the NFL. I’m sure all of those guys feel like they’ve got some kind of chance of getting to the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl. And I feel the exact same way.”
Namath delivered on his guarantee in 1969 for the New York Jets’ only title, but he waited until the eve of the Super Bowl to make his bold promise that the AFL’s Jets would beat Don Shula’s NFL Baltimore Colts.
Miller didn’t even wait for free agency to start.
“Guaranteeing it wasn’t fueled out of being cocky or anything like that,” Miller said. “I actually feel like what else is there? What else is there for the type of team that we have and the type of guys that we’ve got in the locker room?”
The Broncos were odds-on favorites to win this last Super Bowl after going 13-3 and taking an 11-game winning streak into the playoffs behind Peyton Manning’s resurgent season before losing to eventual champion Baltimore 38-35 in double-overtime in the divisional round.
Miller said it was difficult to watch the Ravens go on to win it all.
“Man, it’s just tough. Because you don’t want to be that guy that downplays other team’s success. I actually feel like they had a great team. But we’ve got a great team, too,” Miller said. “That’s what’s so special about playing in this league: it’s not always the best team in the National Football League that gets it.”
The Broncos were the ninth top seed to lose their first playoff game in the last eight seasons.
“It was tough watching Joe Flacco instead of Peyton Manning. It’s tough seeing Ray Lewis, as much as I respect him, instead of Champ Bailey. You know, I mean, it was tough,” Miller said. “But I think we’ll all use this as motivation and get ready to go next year.”
Miller said he has faith that safety Rahim Moore, who allowed Jacoby Jones to haul in Flacco’s 70-yard touchdown heave in the final minute of regulation, will bounce back along with the rest of the Broncos.
“In that game, Rahim made a few key tackles. He was making plays. He was all over the place. That play was just a football folly and the ball was able to get over him and they were able to score a touchdown,” Miller said. “On that play, I don’t blame Rahim. I mean, I blame me and Elvis (Dumervil). There was 40 seconds left in the game, they’ve got 70 yards to go, we know they’re going to pass the ball. That’s why they bring me and Elvis in ... to close it out and capitalize on that.
“So, I mean, I’m sure Rahim took it hard. I took it hard, too. Me and Elvis took it hard equally. We’re going to use all that, we’re going to mash it all together and we’re going to be motivated.”