Credit for the Los Angeles Rams’ ascent to the Super Bowl this year has been heaped on Matthew Stafford, Sean McVay, Aaron Donald and even Stan Kroenke.
But we would give the honor instead to Cooper Kupp, whose first name conveniently rhymes with “Super.”
In fact, if this outstanding wide receiver plays on Feb. 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals as well as he has all season, it could be the “Cooper Bowl.” In further fact, he may be the most valuable player on the Rams, at least, if not in the whole league.
Kupp not only caught two touchdown passes in the Rams’ 30-27 win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, he also blocked and returned kicks.
Kupp merely led the league in catches, receiving yardage and all-purpose yards this season. He was not only dangerous running deep routes but often explosive after making the catch. At 6-foot, 2-inches, and 208 pounds, he’s sometimes bigger than the poor safeties that have to try to bring him down.
“I can’t believe we’re not talking about … Cooper Kupp being more highly regarded as [a) MVP candidate,” said Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris.
Remember the previous week when Kupp made a gorgeous 70-yard TD catch against Tampa Bay early in the game? And how about the two crucial catches in the last minute that set up the game-winning field goal?
On Sunday against the 49ers when Kupp actually dropped a pass, it was as big a surprise as if Frank Sinatra had suddenly forgot the words to “My Way.”
Kupp was not a big name in college, playing for a relatively obscure college – Eastern Washington – but the Rams drafted him in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft and been reaping the rewards ever since.
Not since Gary Cooper has a Cooper been such a hero in Hollywoodland. In those old Westerns, when trouble loomed, they called in the cavalry. If the Rams get in trouble against the Bengals, just call on Mr. Kupp.
At All-Star Break, our teams aren’t broken
The National Hockey League will hold its annual All-Star Game on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the home of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Once again, the format has been changed. The league’s best players will be playing in a three-on-three, three-game tournament.
Included will be Troy Terry (Anaheim Ducks, forward), John Gibson (Ducks, goalie) and Adrian Kempke (Los Angeles Kings, forward).
As we near the break, the locals are doing well. In the Pacific Division, the Ducks (23-16-8) are in second place, just one point behind the first place Golden Knights. And just one point behind the Ducks are the Los Angeles Kings (23-16-7).
Going up, falling down
With their 115-90 victory Sunday over the Charlotte Hornets, they squared their record at 26-26, good for third place in the NBA Pacific Division.
However, the senior partner at Staples Center is staggering a bit. On Sunday, the Lakers – playing without the injured LeBron James – lost their third straight, falling 129-121 to the Atlanta Hawks. They’re now 23-27 and in fourth. They should send a thank-you card to the Sacramento Kings for keeping them out of last place by losing six in a row.
Sports Calendar This Week
- Los Angeles Lakers: Host the Portland Trailblazers on Wednesday, visit the Clippers on Thursday.
- Los Angeles Clippers: Host the Lakers on Thursday, host the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
- Los Angeles Kings: Visit the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.
- Anaheim Ducks: Idle until Friday, Feb. 11 hosting the Seattle Kraken.
Final Out: Tom Brady may be the best QB of all time, and he’s not bad at being obscure, either. Speaking about whether he will retire now, he said, “When that decision comes, it’ll come.”
“Sports Monday” is written by Pete Zarustica.