Miller family making most of Super Bowl berth - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

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Miller family making most of Super Bowl berth

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Posted: Saturday, February 1, 2014 3:45 pm

There was a time when the Miller boys missed portions of the Super Bowl.

Right around halftime they’d start getting antsy, tired of sitting in front of the TV with so much energy to burn and daylight dwindling, so they’d head out to a park near their Ahwatukee home.

“We’d be out there running routes and our dad would be throwing us the ball,” Brent said. “We’d come back in and we’d miss most of the second half before watching the end of the game.”

Some of that routine is still in play for the Desert Vista duo — Zach is still running routes — but their vantage point will be just a tad different on Sunday for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey.

Zach will be the first NFL player who got his start at an Ahwatukee high school to play in the Super Bowl as the starting tight end for Seattle when the Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos for the World Championship at 4:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on FOX Channel 10.

“We talked a lot about playing in the game as kids,” said Brent, whose first memory of the Super Bowl dates to 1998 when Denver beat Green Bay 31-24 in SB XXXII. “And there were (at a post NFC Championship game party) and it was coming true for him. It’s a far-fetched dream, but he is about to cash in on that dream.”

Brent, who is a teacher and coach at Desert Vista where he graduated from in 2003, did his best to be part of the moment as he and Zach’s wife, Ashley, jumped over the wall at CenturyLink Field after the 23-17 win over San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle two weeks ago.

“The NFC Championship game was nuts,” Brent said. “We got on the field and we were stopped by security. We said we were Zach Miller’s family but we were told we had to wait in the corner until he came and got us. As soon as (security) looked the other way we bolted.

“When I got him, he had a (TV) camera in his face but I tackled him and just about knocked him down. It was just crazy.”

The Miller family hurriedly made plans to get to the New York area as Brent will be joined by his parents, Tom and Jacki, his sister-in-law, his sister, Kara, and their cousins, Ryan and Rory Miller, and Brent’s girlfriend, Ashley.

“We didn’t want to get anything (flights/hotels) early out of superstition,” said Brent, who is flying out Friday. “We weren’t taking any chances.”

Zach, who hopes to find a way to get 11-month-old infant twins, Remi and Kaydence, on the field if they win, took a chance in some regard with his college choice when he chose Arizona State after being the nation’s No. 1 tight end recruit in 2004. He could have gone to more prestigious football programs — he visited Oklahoma, Miami and UCLA — but chose to play with his brother and the Sun Devils.

It allowed the brothers three more years of playing with each other after years of youth football with their dad as head coach and three years with the Thunder when Zach made varsity as a freshman tight end and Brent was quarterback.

“My game plan was either to throw it to Zach or run with it,” said Brent, who had a few NFL tryouts and went to camp with the Cardinals in 2008. “It was a special thing, being able to play with each other all of those years. He was always big, even in the pee wee days and had to play up a level because of the weight limit, so I think playing against older kids did him so good.”

Zach, who was taken in the second round of the 2007 NFL draft by the Raiders before signing with Seattle in 2011 for $34 million over five years, was adjusting to the week-long adventure that is Super Bowl week and it reminded him of time spent with his brother and ASU.

“Of course (I’ve never been apart of) nothing of this magnitude,” he said at Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day, “but my brother and I were talking and we played college football together at ASU, it’s kind of like a bowl game in that sense that you’re here for a week and there’s always events.”

It’s been an eventful ride for the Miller boys with hopes of getting a big championship ring to commemorate the journey.

“Once you realize your dream of making it to the NFL you hope to stay as long as you can,” Brent said. “He’s in his seventh year so that’s already a long career. Then you start thinking about making Pro Bowls, which he has already done, and winning a Super Bowl. We were talking and if they win he’s already did just about everything he wants to in his career. He’s been so blessed and he has another huge opportunity in front of him.

“I don’t think it really set in for him until the team landed in New York on Monday. ...

“He’s actually playing in the Super Bowl.”

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
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