ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Von Miller has had this planned for months.
During the Los Angeles Rams' Super Bowl run, and ultimate win, last year, Miller brought in a replica Lombardi Trophy and left it outside the team's equipment room to help motivate his teammates. He would leave notes alongside it with things like, "Remember you said you would do anything!!!"
That same replica Super Bowl trophy has been waiting in the Buffalo Bills' facility in Orchard Park for months. In an interview with ESPN in September, Miller, a two-time champion, shared that he had brought it with him and that it was in the team's equipment room hiding, waiting for just the right moment to be brought out.
But Miller, who was MVP in Super Bowl 50 when the Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, asked that it be kept under wraps, wanting to achieve the "same sting" with his teammates in Buffalo that it had for his fellow Rams.
"When you get to a certain point in the season, and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, that replica is the exclamation point on, this is what it's about, you know, we've come this far," Miller told ESPN in September. "It wouldn't have the same sting if I brought it out here today, you know? We're looking at like playoffs, two, three weeks left in the season where guys can refocus and you really want to get the most out of everybody, and you really want to show that this is what it's about. That's what I'm gonna do here."
Miller was true to his word. Despite being out for the season because of an ACL injury he suffered on Thanksgiving that ultimately required surgery, the pass-rusher decided it was about time for that trophy to appear. He recently placed it out in the locker room.
The impact was swift. Wide receiver Gabe Davis spent an extra amount of time after practice on the JUGS machine on Wednesday, with Davis also impacted by a note from his mother, Alana.
"Von had put the Super Bowl trophy over in the locker room and put, 'You said you'd do anything for it,'" Davis said. "So, kind of reminded me of what we need to do to get there. And I'm going to try my best to show the guys they can trust me and do the extra work. And my mom also wrote me a letter reminding me, too, where I came from, how blessed I am to be in the position I'm in. And to remember why I'm doing what I'm doing. And also, just remember where it all came from."
Having a note with the trophy is also one of Miller's pre-planned moves as another way of motivating his teammates.
"... I'll get a piece of paper, and I get a big red marker, and I'll write just a little message on there, like, 'Pressure is a privilege.' And then I'll write like a little message, 'Remember you said you would do anything for me,'" Miller said. "Just little stuff like that, just little one-liners that just help you refocus and help you prioritize why we come up here."
The Bills are preparing to host the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday (3 p.m. EST, CBS).
Despite the Bills coming away with a narrow three-point win over the Miami Dolphins, a team they were favored over by 13.5 points, per Caesars Sportsbook, the clear goal remains winning the franchise's first ever Super Bowl, and Miller understands motivation is important to help achieve those goals.
"As a leader, you try to find ways to motivate guys," Miller said. "It's multiple things that motivate all of these guys around here. It could be money, it could be legacy, it could be just trying to get in the league. It's several different things that people have as priorities, and everybody's priority is not the same, even though everybody wants to win."
The future Hall of Famer has been back around the team's facility and at games after having knee surgery in December. Multiple teammates and coaches over the past couple weeks have mentioned the impact that his presence has continued to have, especially as the only player on the roster with a Super Bowl ring.
"I think the guys that we have in this locker room, the veteran leadership that we have -- you know, even having Von Miller in the locker room, just being able to talk with guys," quarterback Josh Allen said. "It's so huge for what it does to our psyche and our mental approach to the game."