SAN FRANCISCO — Von Miller picked up the MVP award at a Monday morning news conference.
The Broncos linebacker smiled and posed with the Pete Rozelle Trophy.
But Miller said getting his Super Bowl ring will mean more.
"The Super Bowl MVP is special, but the Super Bowl ring is something that I will keep with me for the rest of my life," he said. "I'll be able to be with my brothers for eternity. I'll be able to be with those guys for 100 years from now, and that's truly beautiful."
Miller finished with six tackles, 21/2 sacks, two forced fumbles, a defensed pass and two hurries in the Broncos' 24-10 victory over the favored Panthers. Only nine other defensive players have won the award.
"I've known Von since he was a very young man at Texas A&M," said Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who played at A&M and got his coaching start there. "I'm so proud of his path and how he's gotten to where he is. You see a great player like that play on a big stage and play a tremendous game like he did, but people don't see the work he put in to get there. Von did not miss a football practice this year unless I sat him down during training camp, make him take a rest day. I was telling his mom earlier (Monday) when we were talking about him, he loves to play.
"And as a football coach, there are a lot of talented players out there, but you (want to) find the guys who just really love to play. He's become a mentor to a lot of young players on our football team. They look up to him. His future is so bright."
Miller's performance and that of the Denver defense rank among the best in Super Bowl history. The Panthers had averaged 36.9 points in their previous nine games, including the postseason, and quarterback Cam Newton — taken one spot ahead of Miller as the first overall pick in the 2011 draft — won the regular-season MVP award.
But the Broncos recorded six sacks and forced four turnovers, including three by Newton, in holding the Panthers to 10 points. The quarterback finished with a 55.4 passer rating and 45 rushing yards.
"I'm uncomfortable with comparisons," Miller said. "The game is the way it is because of the players that have come before us. All these great defenses, they really put their necks on the line for the game. … But the type of defense that we played this year was special."
Miller, 26, gained a lot of attention and made a lot of friends and a lot of money Sunday night.
The Broncos will likely place the franchise tag on Miller before he hits free agency next month. But they hope to sign him to a long-term contract that could make him the highest-paid player in team history with a nine-figure deal.
"It's going to be a peaceful thing," Miller said. "I am not really worried about it."
The Broncos also have business to address at quarterback, with Peyton Manning likely to retire and Brock Osweiler unsigned for next season. The uncertainty at quarterback is a big reason the Broncos opened with 16-1 odds to repeat in Super Bowl LI next year in Houston. Six teams have better odds, including the Patriots and Steelers.
No NFL team has repeated since the 2003-04 Patriots.
"It's always a tremendous challenge," Kubiak said. "That's something that anytime you wear that title that following year, it makes it tough, but that's what this league is all about.
"We're going to enjoy this for a little while, but we'll get back to work, and we plan on being right back in there, (being) competitive. It's a tough league. It's hard to win, but you've got to put in the work, surround yourself with great people, great players and great coaches and go back and battle it again. So I look forward to being a part of it again."