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Spartans in the NFL: Taybor Pepper is the last Spartan standing in the playoffs

Who would’ve thought?

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Spartans in the NFL
© Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Taybor Pepper is the last of the Spartans in the NFL among the four teams left in the playoffs following Divisional Week action.

Following a wild week of Divisional Round action, the Spartans in the NFL Playoffs have dwindled to one: Taybor Pepper. The San Francisco 49ers’ long snapper was assured of this status after the Buffalo Bills (and practice squad offensive guard Kevin Jarvis) were knocked out against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Additionally, Jayden Reed’s Packers fell to Pepper’s 49ers, and Detroit knocked out the Buccaneers’ William Gholston in the defensive end’s return to his hometown.

Taybor Pepper took the long road to even make it to the NFL

Taybor Pepper was the starting long snapper for Michigan State football during its prime. He was the starting long snapper when MSU had a three-year run of a Rose Bowl victory, a Cotton Bowl victory, and a College Football Playoff berth. He won two Big Ten titles and was viewed as a top five long snapper in his draft class.

Unfortunately, NFL teams tend to avoid drafting long snappers, and the position is one that can stick around a long time in the league.

Pepper went through training camps, minicamps, and injuries before he could even make his debut. Two years after the 2015 Cotton Bowl, Pepper got to make his debut in the NFL for the Packers. Even then, the job was not done for Pepper. It took the long snapper another 2 seasons before he was back in the league, this time with the Miami Dolphins. He was released after starting the whole season for Miami, and was picked up by the 49ers a few months later. Pepper has persevered through what the NFL and their teams’ have thrown at him. Including tryouts, mini-camps, organized team activities, and time on the roster, Pepper has tried to impress 13 of the 32 NFL teams for a shot in the league. This includes the Detroit Lions, San Francisco’s opponent next weekend. Pepper tried out for the Lions in December 2018.

This will be the 49ers’ (and his) third consecutive berth in the NFC Championship game. Pepper has yet to get to put on a Super Bowl uniform, however, as the 49ers are 0-2 in the last two years.

Personally, I am hoping for the best for Pepper, but I will be rooting for my local Lions next weekend. If the 49ers wind up advancing to the Super Bowl, I will be reassigning my loyalties to the last of the Spartans in the NFL in the playoff field.

Michigan State Media and Information Management Class of '22. Emmett covers primarily football, recruiting, and basketball for Spartan Shadows. He has also written for Spartan Avenue, Basic Blues, and Hail WV.

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