BRONCOS

Von Miller in the Super Bowl is a painful reminder to Broncos Country

Feb 11, 2022, 6:46 AM
Von Miller...
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This Sunday, Broncos fans will watch Von Miller play in another Super Bowl. This time he won’t be in blue and orange, however. Instead, he’ll be playing for the Los Angeles Rams.

The last time the Broncos played a postseason game, Miller was Super Bowl MVP. Nobody would have guessed that would be the last postseason game we’d ever watch Von Miller play as a Bronco.

Watching Miller in the Super Bowl might give Broncos fans something to root for, but it’s a painful reminder of how far the Broncos have fallen. An all-time great leaving Denver at the end of his career is something Broncos fans never experienced before, at least not in this context.

The Broncos have been a team that star players seek out in their in final years in hopes of raising the Lombardi Trophy. Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware, Neil Smith, Wes Welker and others all came to the Broncos after great careers elsewhere to win a Super Bowl in Denver.

Yes, Shannon Sharpe went to Baltimore and won a Super Bowl, but Sharpe didn’t leave because the Broncos were bad. Denver made the playoffs their first year without Sharpe (and ironically lost to Sharpe in the playoffs). Steve Atwater played one season with the Jets, but it was clearly the end of his career.

Champ Bailey stayed with the Broncos after the Josh McDaniels debacle when he could have left. Although he didn’t win a title, he was able to play in a Super Bowl in his final season with the Broncos. Even when it got bad in Denver in 2000-10, there was always a sense the Broncos would return to glory, so Bailey stayed.

A long time ago, Willie Brown and Lyle Alzado left and won Super Bowls with the Raiders. In both cases, the Broncos had yet to become a flagship franchise.

Since John Elway and Pat Bowlen arrived in the mid-’80s, the Broncos have been a destination, not a place to escape. Finishing a career in Denver was a privilege, but the prestige is no longer there.

After Super Bowl 50, the Broncos wasted Miller’s prime. Ignoring the quarterback position reduced the Broncos offense ineffective, which allowed opponents to scheme Miller out of games. Miller should have more sacks than he does, and I’m sure he’s thought about this.

Miller has spent the week leading up the Super Bowl praising the Broncos and making it clear he will always be a Bronco. While this is a great nod to the fans and organization, it’s painful knowing that in half of a season the Rams took Miller further than he’s been in the last six in Denver combined.

Miller was the beginning of arguably the best run in Broncos history from 2011-15. Watching Miller in the Super Bowl this Sunday will hopefully be the end of the worst run in the last 40 years of the Broncos.

This weekend when Broncos fans watch Miller play in the Super Bowl, they’ll be reminded of how Colts, Cowboys and Chiefs fans felt watching Peyton Manning, DeMarcus Ware and Neil Smith win Super Bowls in a Broncos uniform. It’s a situation that Broncos fans never had to worry about because great players didn’t leave Denver to find success.

Even Sharpe and Atwater left one and two seasons after winning Super Bowls. Miller won a Super Bowl in Denver, but it’s been so long ago. Miller needs to end his career on a high note, and that wasn’t going to happen in Denver.

Von Miller in the Super Bowl is a reminder of how bad this organization has mishandled the coaching staff and roster. Having to watch a Broncos legend succeed in a different uniform is bittersweet.

With George Paton, Nathaniel Hackett and a new owner on the way, a new era is upon Broncos Country. Hopefully, success is around the corner, because in 10 years, I don’t think anybody wants to watch Pat Surtain leave Denver because the team is incapable of winning in the Mile High City.

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Von Miller in the Super Bowl is a painful reminder to Broncos Country