The National Football League will be featured this weekend when two playoff games will be staged – the final NFL playoff games of the season.
Technically, these are the conference championships that will be played Sunday. It’s the NFL’s “Final Four.”
The San Francisco 49ers take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship, and the Cincinnati Bengals face the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC Championship.
And I suppose the final game of the season, the Super Bowl, also is considered a playoff game. Sunday’s winners will play in that final NFL playoff game, the Super Bowl, in a couple of weeks.
And in the “I just can’t resist” category, I just can’t quit my special interest (it might be considered an obsession) of closely following those former Wyoming Cowboys who are very much involved in these playoffs.
There are still three former Wyoming players who will be suited up and fully participating in what potentially could be the biggest games of their professional careers.
And all three will see a lot of action and a lot of screen time on national television.
The first is the NFC title game featuring two former Cowboys. One former Poke on each team in this one, when the Eagles host the 49ers at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.
Both former Cowboys in this game were outstanding safeties at Wyoming, and both have taken their talents to the next level – and excelled.
Marcus Epps wears No. 22 for the Philadelphia Eagles and is coming off a solid performance in last week’s win over the New York Giants, with five tackles.
Epps, now in his sixth season in the NFL, was a sixth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings. After just one season with the Vikings, Epps came to the Eagles. Now in his fifth season in Philadelphia, Epps is playing a key role on an outstanding Eagles defense.
Tashaun Gipson wears No. 31 for the San Francisco 49ers.
The former Wyoming Cowboys defensive back has had one of the longest NFL careers of any former Poke. Gipson is finishing his 12th season in the NFL.
Gipson, who was undrafted, has played for five NFL teams. He began his professional career with the Cleveland Browns, where he played four seasons. Then it was on to the Jacksonville Jaguars for three seasons. Then, one season with Houston, two years with the Chicago Bears, and now he makes plays for the 49ers.
Pay close attention to the defensive play in that first game, and keep an eye out for Marcus Epps and Tashaun Gipson.
In the second game Sunday, the Bengals and Chiefs will battle it out in the AFC Championship in Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.
There will be one former Wyoming Cowboy playing linebacker for Cincinnati in this one.
Logan Wilson wears No. 55 for the Bengals. He and his teammates will be attempting a return to the Super Bowl.
The Bengals lost to the Los Angeles Rams 23-20 in Super Bowl 56.
Wilson, a Casper, Wyoming, native, was drafted in the third round by the Bengals. Now in his third season, the former Cowboy is coming off a playoff game against the Buffalo Bills where he had seven tackles and a quarterback hit on his former teammate, Josh Allen.
So we’ll be closely monitoring the Chiefs-Bengals game, especially when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense is going against the Bengals defense and Wilson.
Like most who make a practice of picking winners, I am very average at it, so I’ll just say who I would like to see play in the Super Bowl.
For the record, I’ll take the Eagles and the Bengals.
And if those selections are correct, that would mean that two former Wyoming Cowboys will be playing in the Super Bowl.
We already know for sure that there will be at least one former Cowboy playing in this year’s Super Bowl. Either Tashaun Gipson or Marcus Epps, the 49er or the Eagle.
If we can just get a win out of the Bengals, we’ll have two former Cowboys in the Super Bowl.
Go Logan Wilson, and go Bengals!