To anyone who has been paying attention, Justin Simmons absolutely deserves to represent the AFC as one of the top safeties.
But that’s just the problem - no one has been.
KOA’s Brandon Krisztal joined the Benjamin Allbright and Ryan Edwards on Broncos Country Tonight last night to discuss Simmons’ Pro Bowl snub and Krisztal recounted a conversation he had with a national media member leading up to the Broncos game against the Vikings where the media member essentially confirmed that the Denver Broncos just aren’t on the national radar. (Check out the full interview above.)
I guess four straight years of missing the playoffs and fielding bottom five offenses will do that to a team, and we have all seen the depletion of primetime games over the last several years.
This time, it affected one of the most deserving Broncos who has had an incredible year. I get that safety play can be a bit hard to quantify, especially for those just looking at stats, but even just the raw stats show Justin Simmons had a better season than a guy like Earl Thomas. He just doesn’t carry the same name recognition and isn’t playing for a hot playoff team.
Simmons so far this year has 84 (59 solo) tackles and 4 interceptions to Thomas’ 45 (30 solo) and 2 INTs.
Aside from that, Simmons leads all safeties in the NFL with 14 passes defensed and is charted by Pro Football Focus to have the lowest QB rating when targeted, among safeties in the AFC.
According to Pro Football Focus, opposing QBs have a 29.5 passer rating when targeting @jsimms1119.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) December 18, 2019
No safety in the AFC caused a lower rating for opposing passers when they threw his way.
And he isn’t even a Pro Bowl alternate?
Hopefully the Broncos’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year will get plenty more chances to vie for his Pro Bowl spot in orange and blue, and maybe they’ll get it right next time; though I’m not holding my breath.