In a League of his own
Worst Seat in the House
Last updated 2/15/2022 at 7:29am
It was quite a week for EWU Eagle alum Cooper Kupp. He earned the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award on Friday and on Sunday he was instrumental in rallying the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl victory and came away with the Most Valuable Player of the game trophy.
There are a lot of people that wanted the Cincinnati Bengals to break through to finally win their first Super Bowl. The last two times the Bengals were playing in the big game I was hoping they would win as well but they didn’t.
Years ago I was a Los Angeles Rams fan and they always let me down in one way or another. They just couldn’t win that big game to advance to a Super Bowl and it was frustrating. But that is the nature of sports. There will always be a winner and a loser. Sunday’s game was no exception as it seemed that the defenses would prevail in the second half and the Rams might just go down to defeat.
In the 4th quarter with no running game to rely on the Rams needed a first down to keep a drive alive. All they needed was one yard and there were very few times that the Bengals allowed even that. So the Rams motioned Kupp and he got an end around hand off and followed his blockers for a seven yard gain and a big momentum changer.
On the final drive Kupp would catch 4 passes with the final one taking back the lead from the Bengals. Cooper Kupp would be the go to guy after Odell Beckham Jr. got hurt in the second quarter. Without OBJ in the lineup Kupp had trouble breaking free of double teams. But when he was needed most he came through and it was a sight to see. The victory was just part of the story.
I have said it a lot over the years when Kupp played at EWU just how good this guy was. As a season ticket holder I had a great seat to watch Kupp run pass routes and return punts. His mistakes were few and he was always worth the price of admission. His coaches and teammates would marvel at his work ethic and those players that worked out with him improved their game as well.
I remember Coach Beau Baldwin say that a lot of players point to the heavens whenever they score a touchdown or make a big play, but Cooper Kupp is sincere when he does it. His faith is strong.
I talked with Coach Dumas who was Kupp’s receiver coach at Davis High School in Yakima and he said that Kupp watched more game film in high school than most of his coaches did. And having him on the team was like having another coach on the field. No one worked harder than he did.
Current Eagle Coach Aaron Best would say how important guys like Cooper Kupp were to the overall success of the team. He was the consummate teammate. After Kupp’s junior year many speculated that Kupp would turn pro and leave the Cheney campus but Kupp had other plans and it revolved around his teammates. He wanted to finish with the class in which he was recruited. Yes, I know I’ve said this before but it needs to be repeated. Good players always seem to find a home and a big paycheck. Kupp trusted his ability and work ethic and QB Matthew Stafford certainly trusted his hands.
There are a lot of people that are making big money doing commercials and young people rave about wanting to be like them but if I were a parent I would tell my kid to study Cooper Kupp because he made himself into the best receiver in the NFL though hard work and being humble. He doesn’t make a spectacle of himself by doing a dance in the end zone after a TD grab or trash talk his opponent. He merely tosses the football to the official and has a short celebration with his teammates.
This season Kupp was in a league of his own with stats that rivaled great receivers like Jerry Rice and Randy Moss. And yet Kupp would never compare himself to those guys because it’s not in his nature to feel that way. That’s what makes him most valuable.