It would be easy to understand if Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp struggled to pick just one overarching thing that stood out about this season.
He won the receiving triple crown by nearly rewriting the NFL record book with 145 catches, 1,947 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns in the regular season. And it was also Kupp’s two touchdowns in the NFC championship game that sent the Rams back to the Super Bowl, one that happens to be in their home stadium.
The return is especially sweeter for Kupp, who missed the team’s last appearance three seasons ago because of a torn ACL.
But when speaking to the media this week before Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals, the 28-year-old had no problem identifying his major takeaway from an unforgettable year, and he pointed to his faith in Christ on multiple occasions.
“I think the thing that He has taught me is that you will find that you are most fulfilled, you will find the most joy, when you are rooted in your purpose, and specifically rooted in His purpose for you,” Kupp said. “That, to me, has been one of the best things about this year.”
"You will find you are most fulfilled and most joy when you are rooted in your purpose."@RamsNFL wide receiver Cooper Kupp shares how he finds his purpose in Christ@CooperKupp pic.twitter.com/ZOk9wzEFku
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) February 8, 2022
Kupp went so far as to say that even if his team hadn’t won a game, he still thought this would be his favorite of the five seasons he’s spent in the NFL because he is rooted in Christ.
The Rams did win games, though — 15 of them — and Kupp was a major reason why. He quickly formed a connection with new quarterback Matthew Stafford and posted back-to-back 100-yard receiving games to start the season.
The longest Kupp has gone this season without a 100-yard outing — regular season or playoffs — is three games, from Week 3 to Week 5. He still caught at least five passes in all three of those games and averaged 84 receiving yards.
Most games with 100+ receiving yards in a season — including playoffs:
Cooper Kupp (2021) – 13
Michael Irvin (1995) – 12
— PFF (@PFF) February 8, 2022
Unsurprisingly, he was named a first-team All-Pro and made the Pro Bowl, the first time he received either recognition. All of the numbers are a result of Kupp’s main focus, which is giving glory to the Lord.
“My motivation coming in every single day is to run the race in such a way as to honor God and the passions and the talents that He’s given me,” Kupp said. “When I’m rooted in that, I am in a great place. I am able to play freely.”
The midseason addition of Odell Beckham Jr. added another dynamic weapon to the Rams’ passing game, making life even more difficult for opposing defenses. Beckham was asked about Kupp during his media session this week and praised Kupp’s attention to detail.
“I’ve learned so much from him,” Beckham said of his fellow wideout. “He’s a great guy, obviously an incredible talent. I’m just happy that I made the right choice [joining the Rams]. Now, I just feel like he deserves this trophy, and he deserves a ring.”
When asked by a kid reporter this week what motivates him to be the best version of himself, Kupp explained that from a young age he’s felt God was “well pleased” when he was playing football. So all he tries to do is make the most of the talents and passions God’s blessed him with.
“Because I knew that [football] is something God had given to me to pursue, my drive wasn’t to achieve anything for myself in any regard,” he said. “There weren’t goals or anything I wanted to achieve, or any honors that I was striving for. It was really about each day being able to wake up and say, ‘I want to be the best that I can possibly be for no other reason than that God has put me here and I want to honor that and respect that to the best of my ability.’
“So now I get to come into work with the greatest purpose, with the greatest drive, the greatest goals in mind because that is the perspective I get to take. That’s really what drives me in everything that I do, whether it’s being the best football player I can be, being the best man I can be, being the best son, the best husband, the best father.”
This interaction between @CooperKupp and a kid reporter ❤️
— NFL (@NFL) February 7, 2022
– Cooper Kupp’s wife Anna: ‘We have prayed for a season to glorify our Savior Jesus Christ’
– Faith-fueled Cooper Kupp, 1st 2,000-yard WR, delivers again as Rams reach Super Bowl
– Odell Beckham Jr. doesn’t see how him getting to Super Bowl ‘is possible without God’
– Former LB Vincent Rey right in God’s will as team chaplain for Super Bowl-bound Bengals
– Rams chaplain Kevin Nickerson focused on relationships, wilderness during journey to SB
– Bengals head coach Zac Taylor: Priorities are faith, family, friends & football, ‘in that order’
– Bengals’ Michael Thomas goes from unsigned to Super Bowl: ‘God’s plans are greater’
– Rams punter Johnny Hekker knows ‘God is on the throne’ as he pursues Super Bowl title
– DE Trey Hendrickson thankful for his ‘Lord & Savior’ as he leads Bengals to Super Bowl
– WATCH: ‘Weekly Slant’ Super Bowl Edition w/ Dan Orlovsky, Nick Foles & Bill Curry
– Rams backup TE Kendall Blanton steps up big, thanks God as L.A. heads to Super Bowl
– ‘God is Good’: Kicker Evan McPherson sends Bengals to first Super Bowl since 1988