Von Miller, one of three current or former NFL pros competing this season in Dancing With the Stars, says he’s in it to win it.
“I’m super competitive,” the North Texas native and Super Bowl 50 MVP says. “I didn’t just come here to dance around and smile and stuff. I want to win. That’s what it’s about.”
The two-hour live season premiere airs at 7 p.m. Monday on ABC.
Given that the 26-year-old Denver Broncos linebacker is at the top of his game, it stands to reason that Miller is among the front-runners.
Miller, who grew up in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto and played college ball at Texas A&M, has already jokingly (we think) vowed to stop his NFL counterparts in their tracks.
When I first saw Doug Flutie, I looked at him and I was like, ‘I’m going to sack you’
“When I first saw Doug Flutie, I looked at him and I was like, ‘I’m going to sack you,’” he says. “When I found out who the football guys were, I thought, ‘Gotta take you out.’”
Maybe he should also be mindful of Paige “12 Gauge” VanZant, one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. Given her athleticism and her dance background (her parents owned a dance studio), she could prove to be a formidable competitor.
There’s a rich history of athletes winning the show’s Mirror Ball trophy, beginning in 2006 with Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. Other NFL pros-turned-Dancing With the Stars champs were Hines Ward in 2011 and Donald Driver in 2012.
That’s not to say that non-athletes don’t win their fair share.
From the Season 22 DWTS field, Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee, R&B recording artist Wanya Morris (of Boyz II Men fame) and actress (and former Mrs. Donald Trump) Marla Maples are among those who might have what it takes.
The rest of the pack includes actress Mischa Barton (The O.C.), America’s Next Top Model winner Nyle DiMarco, actress Kim Fields (The Facts of Life), journalist/TV personality Geraldo Rivera and actress Jodie Sweetin (Full House/Fuller House).
Miller refuses to be intimidated by any of them. With him, confidence and cockiness are different sides of the same coin.
“We’ve got to look at it positive,” he says. “I don’t think it will be tough at all. You can’t say ‘tough.’ It’s going to be easy. When you change your mindset about it, when you change the way you look at it, that’s where you can be very, very effective.”
Mind you, he’s talking about success in football, but shouldn’t the same principles apply to a reality-show ballroom dance-off?
Miller adds that his secret weapon against his NFL brethren, the one thing he has that they don’t, is dance partner Witney Carson, who teamed with Alfonso Ribeiro to win the Mirror Ball in 2014.
“It will be super dope,” Miller says of their chemistry. “When I’m doing something, I’m all the way into it. I can tell that she’s the same way. I can tell that the chemistry’s going to be good and I’m looking forward to whatever it is that they throw at us.”
That said, even if Miller’s participation doesn’t amount to much, he’ll wind up with something significant to show for the experience.
Carson, who knows next to nothing about football, has vowed to hook Miller up with a signature dance move, one he can use next season to celebrate on the field after he flattens opposing quarterbacks.
“Whatever we come up with,” Miller says, “I’ll do after the sacks.”
Dancing With the Stars
- 7 p.m. Monday
- WFAA/Channel 8