Denver Broncos pass rusher Von Miller has already made a name for himself during his career. He became the team’s leader in career sacks in 2018 when he sacked Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield during their December matchup.
Miller has recorded 10 or more sacks in seven of his nine seasons (2020 doesn’t count as he missed the year with a leg injury). He was the Super Bowl 50 MVP after recording six tackles, 2.5 sacks on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, and strip-sacking Newton in an historic play.
Despite those phenomenal achievements, Miller is still hungry.
“I think about the Ring of Fame, I think about all that stuff, but I’m still stuck here in the present,” Miller said Wednesday. “I think everybody — whenever you come into the league — you want to go into the Hall of Fame, you want to be in the Ring of Fame, you want to be one of the best players for your franchise. But at the same time, I’m still stuck in the moment.”
“There’s so much to be done right now,” Miller said. “There’s so much to be done with our team, so many games to win, before I can really start thinking about the Ring of Fame. I don’t want those years with Peyton to be the highlight of my career. I think we’ve got some special stuff brewing, I think we’ve got some special games coming. Me personally, I think I’ve got more to prove and more to give to Broncos Country. I think about it. I can’t lie and say I don’t think about going into the Ring of Fame and Hall of Fame and all that stuff, but I’ve still got a lot more to do here, and that’s where my mind is.”
— Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller
He has yet to lead the league in sacks in a single season despite his career-high 18.5 in 2012 (then-Texans defensive end J.J. Watt had 20.5 that year).
Surely number one on Miller’s list of achievements is to win his second Super Bowl. The Broncos will need to figure a couple of things out in the final stretch of Miller’s tremendous career—primarily the quarterback position. Without that being resolved, his quest for another Super Bowl win does not appear to be on the horizon.
Miller is 94 sacks away from tying Hall of Famer Bruce Smith for the all-time record of 200 career sacks. At age 31, Miller averages 11.7 sacks per year. If he keeps up that rate, it will still be difficult to reach 200 sacks.
It’s very unfortunate that Miller missed all of last season and most of the 2013 season. Otherwise he probably would have been a lot closer.
Overall, here’s a list of Miller’s achievements:
Super Bowl 50 winner
Super Bowl 50 Most Valuable Player
NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2011)
3× First-team All-Pro (2012, 2015, 2016)
4× Second-team All-Pro (2011, 2014, 2017, 2018)
8× Pro Bowl (2011, 2012, 2014–2019)
Butkus Award (pro) (2012)
Unanimous NFL 2010s All-Decade Team
Butkus Award (college) (2010)
100 Sacks Club
Miller’s chances of becoming the NFL’s league MVP are not great, unfortunately. The last time a non-quarterback won the award was back in 2012 when then-Vikings running back Adrian Peterson took it home.
The fact of the matter is, it’s an offensive league.
In 2018, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald led the league with 20.5 sacks. That year, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes won MVP. In 2014, then-Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston led the league with 22 sacks. That year, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers won MVP.
It’s just an unfortunate situation where great players who have the potential to break records just won’t get the full recognition they deserve because it’s a quarterback league.
Miller has 490 career tackles. The NFL’s all-time leader in tackles is 1,568, by Baltimore Ravens Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.
There is no doubt that Miller is going to join former teammate Peyton Manning on the team’s Ring of Fame one day after he retires. Manning was just inducted into the Ring of Fame on Wednesday.
Miller has a ways to go to sniff that high on the all-time sack leaderboards. We’ll see what he can do in the remaining years of his career.