Sports

Cooper Kupp Deserves NFL MVP Recognition

Cooper Kupp #10 of the NFL Los Angeles Rams celebrates a touchdown during the first half in the game against the Detroit Lions at SoFi Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

 

With one game left in the 2021 NFL regular season, the postseason award selection process is in high gear.

One of the most difficult decisions this year will be who receives the NFL MVP award.

There are many excellent candidates and each one of them has good reason to be named the league’s most valuable player.

Of course, looking back at the past two decades, the award has typically been given to a quarterback.

In fact, going back to the early 1970s, the award has overwhelmingly gone to quarterbacks, along with a smattering of running backs.

The lone exceptions were in 1982 and 1986 when kicker Mark Moseley and linebacker Lawrence Taylor, respectively, won the MVP.

Looking at the top ten candidates for this year’s award, no fewer than eight quarterbacks are on the list.

While it seems inevitable that the award will, again, be given to a signal-caller, the voters should take a hard look at someone else, Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp.

 

Why Kupp Deserves Strong Consideration

Ever since entering the NFL as a third-round selection in 2017, Kupp has consistently done well.

Except for an injury-shortened 2018, his reception numbers have been some of the best in the league.

Since 2019, Kupp has caught over 90 passes each year.

This includes a career-high of 138 receptions (and counting) this season.

Not only does Kupp lead the league in receptions this year, but he also leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,829) and receiving touchdowns (15).

Each statistical category is part of the “triple crown” of NFL receiving numbers.

Even more impressive, Kupp has a chance to break a few of the triple-crown records in Week 18.

Currently, Michael Thomas leads the NFL all-time in receptions during a season with 149.

Former Lions receiver Calvin Johnson is the all-time leader in receiving yards in a season with 1,964.

Randy Moss holds the all-time record for receiving touchdowns in a season with 23.

Realistically, Kupp could catch Johnson in 2021’s final week.

He only needs 135 yards to break the record (he surpassed that total twice this year).

It would also be fitting since Kupp’s LA quarterback, Matthew Stafford, was the one who passed to Johnson in 2012 to help him get the record.

Kupp would need 12 receptions in Week 18 to break Thomas’ record.

He has hauled in 10 or more receptions in a game five times this year.

In Week 14, Kupp had 13 catches against the Cardinals.

However, unless the San Francisco defense decides not to show up for this weekend’s game, Kupp will not catch Moss’ record.

 

MVP Caliber Year

Regardless of whether he gets one or two of the records, Kupp’s numbers are MVP caliber.

He recently noted that he wouldn’t feel right if he broke the records during a 17-game season.

“What those guys did in 16 games, it wouldn’t seem right to, I don’t know, for those to be broken in 17 games,” Kupp said.

However, the NFL doesn’t work that way.

If a player reaches a milestone during a league-recognized season, it doesn’t matter how many games are played.

In fact, Cowboys defensive back Trevon Diggs (11 picks) has a chance to break Dick “Night Train” Lane’s single-season record of 14 interceptions.

Lane accomplished the feat in 1952 when the NFL played only 12 games.

In other words, Kupp shouldn’t feel bad about breaking records in a 17-game season.

It’s still the regular season.

His triple-crown numbers are rare.

Only three players in the Super Bowl era have achieved the feat, Jerry Rice (1990), Sterling Sharpe (1992), and Steve Smith (2005).

That fact alone should catapult Kupp to the top of the MVP list.



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