By Rory Carroll
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Super Bowl MVP Von Miller etched his place in NFL history but on Monday was full of praise for Peyton Manning, saying the Denver Broncos' triumph was about much more than just his dominant defensive effort.
Miller led the way in shutting down the high-octane Carolina Panthers offense in Sunday's Super Bowl but after a late night of celebrations, was grateful for Manning, even if the future Hall of Fame quarterback did not have his best game.
"We carry each other," Miller said on Monday during his MVP news conference. "If it wasn't for Peyton making decisions that he made to throw the ball short so we could punt the ball, get the ball back ... We all had a percentage in this Super Bowl win."
Manning, who turns 40 in March, was far from his vintage self during Sunday's 24-10 victory but he did just enough to become the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl.
He completed completed 13 of 23 passes for 141 yards and one interception and his team never trailed despite having the fewest total yards by a Super Bowl winner.
Miller, who had 2-1/2 sacks, 6 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 2 hurries and a pass defensed, was the driving force behind Denver's win but was happy to deflect the accolades.
"It was truly a team effort. Everyone's used to seeing Peyton go out there and throw for 45 points a game," said Miller. "But this year, it was truly a team effort."
Miller, who is set to hit free agency and likely to command a huge contract, also gave credit to the Broncos coaching staff, including defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who he said had the personality and vision to make the Denver defense among the best of all time.
"He had a magical personality," Miller said. "You have a 68-year-old guy who is hip to everyday events and everyday dances and all that stuff. It's truly an energy boost."
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Miller’s work ethic and love for the game propelled him to the MVP honor.
“Von did not miss a football practice this year unless I sat him down during training camp, make him take a rest day, he did not miss a practice,” Kubiak said.
“He loves to play and as a football coach, there’s a lot of talented players out there, but when you find the guys that just really love to play,” he said. “His future is so bright.”
(Editing by Frank Pingue)