Is Von Miller a cheater? In his own words, yes.
Of course, what Miller did on the game-sealing play isn’t something as blatantly wrong as trying to take off an opponent’s head (aka what Vontaze Burfict did to Antonio Brown in the wild card round).
However, he admitted to Peter King of MMQB that he did utilized a strategy to keep the ball away from Cam Newton in Super Bowl 50 that was, shall we say, frowned upon by the NFL rule book.
The play in question is Miller’s second forced fumble on a sack late in the fourth quarter, which ultimately led to a Denver Broncos touchdown to put the game away 24-10 over the Carolina Panthers.
Miller came around the edge like a bat out of hell, being held by right tackle Mike Remmer all the while, and managed to get one of his paws on the ball, stripping it out of Newton’s grasp as he attempted to make a play downfield. This is also the play that resulted in plenty of criticism for the quarterback, who gave questionable effort to recover the ball.
What happened after the ball was stripped is where the rule-bending occurred.
“I was being held for a minute,” Miller said to King over the phone Friday. “So I couldn’t get to the ball right away. I thought Cam was going to jump on it, but I guess, I mean, he didn’t want to dive down there on it. I couldn’t fall on it, so I was just trying to, I don’t know, get it to one of our guys.”
This is what is known as an illegal bat of the ball. It’s supposed to be called whenever a “player bats or punches a loose ball in the field of play toward his opponent’s goal line.”
As King pointed out in his column, if an official had noticed Miller sweeping the ball toward his own goal line, it would have resulted in a penalty, which could have significantly altered the way the final minutes of Super Bowl 50 played out.
However, no call was made and the rest is history.