Rex Ryan famously guaranteed a Super Bowl in 2011, but the New York Jets stumbled to 8-8 and didn’t make the playoffs. Ryan Kalil said the Carolina Panthers would win Super Bowl XLVII and the team didn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
Making a Super Bowl guarantee dates back to Joe Namath, who guaranteed a victory in Super Bowl III three days before the game—the Jets won.
We all know that making a guarantee really isn’t a guarantee at all. Super Bowl promises are usually made by overconfident players and coaches. It’s also usually foolish to predict a victory because it’s so hard to win one. Rarely has a guarantee been made by a player on one of the best teams in the league.
So when Von Miller took to Twitter to make a guarantee that the Denver Broncos would win Super Bowl XLVIII, it would be easy to label him as foolish and overconfident. He's actually quite the opposite. Miller just voiced what every player on the team and fan that follows the team already expects.
There is no secret that the Broncos' goal is a Super Bowl. That’s what the team expects and that’s what the fans expect in 2013. Maybe that’s a lofty expectation, but it doesn’t add any additional pressure on a team that was already among the early favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII (per Vegas Insider).
It's clearly not a foolish guarantee.
Miller’s guarantee also doesn’t come from overconfidence, but from a desire to honor his six-year-old cousin Jeremiah. According to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post, Jeremiah was seriously injured in a car accident and recently emerged from a coma.
“It wasn’t because I felt all cocky,” Miller told Kiszla. “This is bigger than me. This is all about my little cousin coming back from a serious accident.”
Miller is right, it’s way bigger than him. While Miller arguably makes more impact on defense than any other player in the world, he can't accomplish his goals alone. It’s also easy to believe that Miller’s true motive behind the guarantee is to honor his cousin—the guarantee is all about Jeremiah.
While a guarantee could easily be turned into a negative, it can also be a positive. In this case, Miller had an emotional experience and emotional experiences can galvanize a team. Look no further than the Indianapolis Colts, who rallied around Chuck Pagano’s fight against cancer and unexpectedly made the playoffs a year after being the worst team in the league.
Many Broncos fans have not gotten over the devastating overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens and Miller’s guarantee gives fans a reason to be excited about the 2013. Maybe Miller’s guarantee is finally the thing that gets Broncos fans to turn the page on 2012.
Broncos fans have reason to be excited about 2013 because their team is one of the best in the league and it’s not hard to imagine Peyton Manning hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next year.