Few receivers in NFL chronicle have had as remarkable a season as Cooper Kupp’s 2021 campaign.
Regardless of the historic showing, fellow NFC Pro Bowl selection Justin Jefferson ranked himself ahead of the Los Angeles Rams receiver, stating recently, “Coop is good, but I’ll say he’s behind me.”
Kupp, the reigning AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, politely disagreed Wednesday when asked about the Minnesota Vikings wide receiver’s take.
“I respect his opinion and I can also respectfully disagree,” Kupp said, via team transcript.
Kupp’s 2021 season was a tour de force. He led the NFL with 16 touchdowns, 145 receptions and 1,947 yards, becoming the first receiver since the Carolina Panthers’ Steve Smith in 2005 and just the fourth overall since the 1970 merger to win the receiving triple crown.
The L.A. wideout’s ascent to the top of the leaderboards saw him produce single-season reception and yardage numbers that were each second-most in NFL history and he became only the fourth player to ever produce 100-plus catches, 1,500-plus yards and 15-plus TDs, according to NFL Research. The other three – Jerry Rice (1995), Marvin Harrison (2001) and Randy Moss (2003) – are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Thus, Kupp, who also won Super Bowl Most Valuable Player in the Rams’ triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals, would seem to have earned some high regard. However, Jefferson has previously opined that Davante Adams is the best WR in the game and that he will surpass him in the 2022 season.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s a stance Kupp doesn’t look unkindly upon.
Hailed for his work ethic and tenacity in becoming one of the game’s greats, Kupp, 29, complimented Jefferson’s mindset.
“I would hope he would say that,” said Kupp, whose stellar 2021 season came with Kevin O’Connell, now Jefferson’s head coach, at offensive coordinator. “I think that’s the beauty of this game. I think it speaks to the competitiveness of this league. If you’re not putting yourself as the best and you’re not working to be the best, then I’d be concerned about stepping on the field with you if you don’t feel like you’ve prepared to be the best player that you can be.”
Jefferson, 23, is off to a most scintillating start to his career, one greater than just about anyone else in the history books. His 3,016 receiving yards are the most in league history over a player’s first two seasons. In his two seasons, he’s put up 196 catches, 17 touchdowns and the aforementioned 3,016 yards, which all compare quite nicely to Kupp’s 237 receptions, 2,921 yards and 19 touchdowns in that same span.
Whether it be Adams, Kupp, Jefferson, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill or whomever else, there are arguments aplenty for who the best in the game is.
There is no arguing however that in the arena of statistics and team success, Kupp stood above them all in 2022, just like his Rams. The debate, in all regard, will kick off again in a few weeks with the dawn of a new season.
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