A zero-star recruit who received only two offers to play college football. Most football fans wouldn’t believe that one player would end up winning Super Bowl MVP. But, welcome to the life of Cooper Kupp.
Coming into this season, there were questions in regards to Cooper Kupp working with Matthew Stafford. It was clear that Kupp would be Stafford’s best slot receiver dating back to his time in Detroit. But with guys like Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Desean Jackson, it was unclear as to if Kupp would receive a healthy dose of targets consistently.
That concern was quickly resolved. Stafford targeted Kupp 10 times in their Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears. The former Eastern Washington wide receiver finished with seven catches for 108 yards, and also scored against this questionable Chicago defense.
How Did Cooper Kupp do in the Regular Season?
This game was a sign of things to come, as Kupp had double-digit targets in six straight games (before the streak was broken against Houston in Week 8; he finished with nine targets). In all, Stafford knew he could depend on Kupp on a weekly basis. Including the regular and postseason, Kupp was targeted 10 or more times in all but four games.
We can mention targets all we want, but it’s what Kupp does when he gets thrown the ball. In the regular season, he had 11 games with 100+ receiving yards. Seven of those games included scoring multiple touchdowns.
When the dust settled, Cooper Kupp finished with the best season a wide receiver could ever have. He was the first player since Steve Smith Sr. to win the NFL’s Triple Crown (lead the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns). He was 17 yards short of breaking the single-season receiving yards record set by Calvin Johnson in 2012.
So, who was the quarterback throwing to Johnson in 2012? Matthew Stafford. There’s something about Stafford and his ability to help his number one wide receiver set records.
After Week 18, the Rams finished the regular season with a 12-5 record. They clinched the #4 seed in the NFC playoff picture, where the Arizona Cardinals awaited them in the Wild Card Round.
Cooper Kupp in the Postseason
In Kupp’s third career postseason game, he continued his success from the regular season. Against their NFC West rivals, Kupp finished with a “quiet” five catches for 61 yards. Also, to no one’s surprise, he scored a touchdown.
Then, with the win against the Cardinals, they moved on to face Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Kupp torched the Bucs’ defense, as he finished 183 receiving yards and showed off his speed on their way to a 30-27 win.
Facing off against the 49ers for the third time this season, Kupp had his best game in the postseason. Finishing with 11 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns, he put up an outstanding performance in front of the home crowd. The Rams defeated their inner-state rivals and made their first Super Bowl appearance since 2019 (where they lost to New England).
When the Lights Shined the Brightest, Kupp Stood up to the Challenge
Finally, in the biggest game of his career, Cooper Kupp showed why he’s one of the best receivers in the NFL. He scored his first Super Bowl touchdown in the second quarter, which extended the Rams lead to 13-3 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Unfortunately, the Rams offense started to struggle after that score, as Kupp’s teammate Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a non-contact injury with four minutes left in the first half.
Cincinnati took advantage in the second half, leading 20-16 at the start of the fourth quarter. For about 13 minutes, both teams struggled to score any points. However, as he’s done all year long, Cooper Kupp stood up to the challenge.
During the game-winning drive, the team turned to him. On a key 4th down, Kupp received a handoff from Stafford and came up clutch.
After that play, Kupp was targeted multiple times down the stretch. In the end, he made one last play that will be remembered forever.
Furthermore, that touchdown gave the Rams a lead they will never relinquish, and after Aaron Donald pressured Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow to throw an incompletion, it was over.
aaron donald really said run me my trophy pic.twitter.com/NShfE3zBtP— charles (bic fizzle stan) mcdonald (@FourVerts) February 14, 2022
A Hollywood Ending
With their first championship since 2000, the Rams will get to stand atop the NFL mountain until next season. For Kupp, he finished with eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. His performance earned him Super Bowl MVP, a fitting Hollywood ending to the greatest season ever by a wide receiver.
Cooper Kupp finished his high school football career with zero scholarship offers.— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 14, 2022
3 weeks later, he finally got one from Eastern Washington.
This year, he led the NFL in receptions, yards and TDs.
🏆 Super Bowl Champ
🏆 Super Bowl MVP
(📸: @nfl) pic.twitter.com/IY63YoHHWE
Not bad for a zero-star recruit with two college offers.