Von Miller, Sony Michel Super Bowl experiences ring in ears of Rams

The Broncos' Von Miller (58) strips the ball from the  Panthers' Cam Newton during the second half of  Super Bowl 50.
The Broncos’ Von Miller (58) strips the ball from the Panthers’ Cam Newton during the second half of Super Bowl 50. Miller was voted MVP of the game.
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Most players on the Rams roster will be chasing their first Super Bowl title when they play the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI.

But two already own Super Bowl championship rings.

Outside linebacker Von Miller was the MVP of Super Bowl 50 after leading the Denver Broncos to victory over the Carolina Panthers at the end of 2015 season. Three years later, then-rookie running back Sony Michel produced a big performance for the New England Patriots in a victory over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.

“Sony, he told me that he won a Super Bowl so early that it kind of spoiled him,” Miller said Thursday during a videoconference with reporters. “He said he felt like it was going to be like that each and every year, and that’s a similar experience I had too.”


But Miller, 32, experienced long droughts of missing the playoffs before he was traded to the Rams in November.

Now, Miller said he and Michel are letting teammates know they must seize the opportunity on Feb. 13 when they play the Bengals at SoFi Stadium.

“These opportunities, they don’t come often, I’m here to tell you that,” Miller said. “That’s just been my message to everybody. ... ‘We’re here, man.’ And that’s been my message to everybody, and that’s what me and Sony talk about: Being here and taking advantage of this opportunity.”

Miller and Michel both had prominent roles in helping the Rams win the NFC West and finish with a 12-5 record.

Michel, acquired in an August trade with the Patriots, backed up Darrell Henderson for most of the season before coach Sean McVay went to a more physical rushing attack. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Michel averaged nearly 100 yards rushing during a five-game winning streak.

In playoff victories over the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, McVay opted to give most of the carries to second-year pro Cam Akers, who had returned from an Achilles injury near the end of the regular-season finale.


But Michel’s Super Bowl experience — he rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Rams — might come into play against the Bengals.

Miller, acquired in a November trade with the Broncos, had five sacks in eight regular-season games, and had sacks in playoff victories over the Cardinals and Buccaneers. In the NFC championship game victory over the San Francisco 49ers, he made one tackle for a loss and had a quarterback hit.

Rams Aaron Donald (99) and Von Miller and celebrate after Miller's strip sack of Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Rams Aaron Donald (99) and Von Miller and celebrate after Miller’s strip sack of Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. The Bengals’ offensive line will be put to the test against the Rams’ pass rush.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

As the Rams prepare for the Bengals, Miller’s experience as a Super Bowl MVP “absolutely matters,” McVay said.

“We talk about competitive greatness all the time, being at your best when your best is required,” McVay said. “He’s illustrated that throughout the playoffs. ... His track record speaks for itself but his work, his resumé, just the way he carries himself demands a respect.

“You just can’t help but the love the guy, and he’s been outstanding, and we would not be here without him.”


Miller said his Super Bowl dreams began in 2005 when he ordered a pizza and a 2-liter bottle of soda and watched the Patriots defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.

“I remember saying to myself, ‘I hope I get to play in one of those games,’ ” he said.

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In 2011, the Broncos selected Miller with the second pick in the NFL draft. In 2014, a knee injury prevented him from playing in the Broncos’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Two years later, Miller was part of a Broncos team that included quarterback Peyton Manning, linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Aqib Talib, among others.

In the Super Bowl, Miller had 2½ sacks and forced two fumbles that led to touchdowns in a victory over quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers. He said it was the one game in his career that he was not nervous.

To “pay it forward,” Miller said he was sharing with Rams players the advice he received from his Broncos teammates and coaches to not shy away from the moment. It is not a big speech and does not have to be delivered in front of the team, he said.

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“It’s just pull a guy to the side and, you know, just tell him, ‘Hey, we one game away from football heaven.’


“Just a little thing like that goes a long way. And just plant the seed … the same seed that was planted in me in 2015, and hopefully all that stuff will come to fruition next Sunday.”

Winning a Super Bowl is “life changing,” Miller said. But he does not want Super Bowl 50 to be the highlight of his career.

“I’m hoping that Super Bowl 56 will be the highlight of my career,” he said, adding, “I’m hoping that the Von that I am on [Super Bowl] Sunday will be the best Von that I put forward my whole entire career.

“This is the biggest game of my life, and I want to go out there and I want to play in that way.”