Wyoming’s Tashaun Gipson on the Brink of Super Bowl Berth
LARAMIE -- How's this for an NFL résumé:
* 32 interceptions
* 624 tackles
* 64 pass breakups
* 3 defensive touchdowns
* 2014 Pro Bowl
One thing that is missing from that list above is a Super Bowl appearance. Tashaun Gipson can check that box Sunday if his 49ers can upset the top-seeded Eagles inside Lincoln Financial Field.
The 11-year safety out of Wyoming has had a breakout season in San Francisco.
After going unsigned in the offseason before eventually landing on the Niners' practice squad, Gipson has become a stalwart in one of the league's top secondaries, tallying 61 tackles and hauling in a team-best five interceptions.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't lose a little faith sitting at training camp," Gipson told CBS Bay Area last week. "Going into preseason, there I was at home with my kids. It was my first time spending my birthday at home, and I didn't envision being at home on my birthday in August. So to be here now, man, it's just glory to God because I came into the right situation at the right time."
Gipson played in Laramie from 2008-11. Rotating between the cornerback spot and safety, the Dallas product registered 250 total tackles and picked off nine passes, three in each of his last three campaigns on the high plains.
Gipson earned second-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior. Despite his consistent play and versatility, he went undrafted in 2012.
Cleveland eventually took a flyer on Gipson, inking him to a three-year, $1.44 million contract. Gipson paid off the Browns' brass by snagging 12 interceptions in those first three seasons, including a career-high six in 2014. That year he was named to his only NFL Pro Bowl.
In 2016, Gipson signed a five-year, $36 million contract with Jacksonville. There, he added six more interceptions in three seasons.
Gipson eventually bounced around, first heading to Houston for one year and then two more in the Chicago Bears' secondary.
This is only Gipson's third trip to the postseason in his pro career.
The Jaguars were bounced in the first round in 2017. His Bears suffered the same fate three years later.
San Francisco rolled division-rival Seattle 41-23 this January inside Levi's Stadium during the Wild Card Round. Last Sunday, Gipson's 49ers held off Dallas 19-12 to clinch a berth in the NFC Championship game.
Gipson has five combined tackles, including one for loss, in those two outings.
"I thought we were very fortunate that he was available when he was and he's come in here and I feel like he's kind of the wisdom of our defense," head coach Kyle Shanahan told CBS. "I mess around with him, I call him dad sometimes, but he's been so consistent. Always putting the backstop on our defense. He's got great ball skills, he always has."
Sure beats sitting at home, right?
"It's the most fun year of my career and I can truly say that," Gipson said. "I've been on some teams where we had a little success, man, but this truly is the most fun year of my career. Why stop now? We have so much more football left to play. Perfect storybook ending for everybody if we can continue to keep this going."
Kickoff in Philadelphia is scheduled for 1 p.m. Mountain Time.
In the meantime, let's take a look at Tashaun Gipson throughout the years in the photo gallery below: