Julian Love’s Honest Admission About ‘Shock’ Pro Bowl Nod

Seahawks and 2024 NFC Pro Bowl safety Julian Love

Getty Julian Love of the Seattle Seahawks

When Seattle Seahawks safety Julian Love found out he made the 2024 NFC Pro Bowl team, his reaction was like many of ours. He was shocked. The offseason free-agent signing had an excellent first season in the Pacific Northwest, but as the third safety on his team and the heavy competition at the position around the conference, his appearance on that Pro Bowl roster wasn’t on all that many people’s BINGO cards.

Julian Love Made the 2024 NFC Pro Bowl Team

Seahawks safety Julian Love is one of three Seattle Pro Bowl players who will participate in the 2024 Pro Bowl Games on Feb. 4 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Linebacker Bobby Wagner and rookie cornerback Devin Witherspoon are the two Love teammates who also got the invite to the NFL’s end-of-season all-star event.

The NFC squad includes three safeties, with the Atlanta Falcons‘ Jessie Bates starting at free safety and Arizona Cardinals‘ DB Budda Baker starting ahead of Love at strong safety.

Love, a fourth-round pick in 2019 of the New York Giants, signed a two-year, $12,000,000 deal with $5,980,000 guaranteed this offseason, per Spotrac. In his first NFC West campaign, the Notre Dame product put up 116 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, 10 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, and four interceptions, including a big game-winner against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15.

Those are Pro Bowl numbers, but one number that sticks out is 870 defensive snaps. That is 78% of the Seahawks’ 2023 defensive snaps, which is a little low for a top safety — a position that rarely leaves the field on most teams.

The Seahawks’ Safety Was Surprised By the Honor

When asked about his inclusion on the 2024 NFC Pro Bowl roster at a press conference on Thursday, Jan. 4, Julian Love expressed surprise about the honor.

“Very unexpected,” Love chuckled. “Yeah, just genuine shock. Obviously, it’s cool. My family and I are extremely excited just for that nod.”

When asked why he was shocked, Love talked more about his season.

“Shoot, there were some games I didn’t play this year. There were games — the Dallas game I wasn’t out there much. By a lot of people’s eyes, I was the third safety, which in some games I was.”

Love is right that it is a little shocking he made this team given his role this season alongside Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs, the latter of whom was named a Pro Bowl alternate this season.

Still, Love did have an excellent year overall, despite the crowded defensive backfield. And, he and Seahawks fans can take solace in the fact Love is not the NFC strong safety that the internet is crushing right now.

The Controversial Strong Safety Spot on the NFC Pro Bowl Team

Of all the spots on either 2024 NFL Pro Bowl team, the strong safety selections on the NFC are the most controversial. Specifically, the choice of Cardinals S Baker over the Tampa Bay BuccaneersAntoine Winfield Jr.

Baker is a well-known player with six Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro teams on his resume. Winfield Jr. has been in the NFL for three fewer seasons and has made just one Pro Bowl team in 2021. With fan and media voting components to the Pro Bowl, it becomes a popularity or name-recognition contest as opposed to a true measure of who had a better season.

After the Winfield Jr. snub, Fox Sports NFC South reporter Greg Auman tweeted a stat line comparison of the Bucs and Cardinals safeties that illustrated this point perfectly.

“Arizona’s Budda Baker made the Pro Bowl as an NFC safety ahead of Antoine Winfield,” Auman wrote. “Baker: 0 INT, 0 FF, 0 FR, 0 sacks; Winfield: 3 INT, 5 FF, 4 FR, 5 sacks.”

This led to Winfield Jr.’s dad, Antoine Winfield Sr., a 14-year NFL vet, going off on social media, demanding a recount and saying, “Ain’t NO WAY in HELL Buddha Baker goes to the ProBowl ahead of My lil man with NO STATS.”

So, as much as Love was surprised about his own inclusion on the Pro Bowl team, the fact that Baker is there is much more perplexing to everyone else.

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