Since value is defined as something of “great worth,” it means that Cooper Kupp is just that — ask Rams fans. After a season in which he led the NFL in receptions (145), receiving touchdowns (16), and receiving yards (1,947) — the receiver Triple Crown — Kupp caught 9 passes for 183 yards and one touchdown — including passes of 20 and 44 yards on the final drive to give the Rams a 30-27 win over the Bucs on Sunday after Tom Brady rallied Tampa Bay from a 27-3 hole in the second half.
But, despite all that, Kupp won’t win the MVP award. It’s not because he isn’t worthy, it’s just that football has become a sport in which quarterbacks are the only ones that can receive the highest of individual accolades.
There’s also the fact that a wide receiver has never won the Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award — look it up.
Since 2000, quarterbacks have won the award 18 times. And this year will make it 19 when it’s pretty much already been decided that either Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady will take home the prize. Rodgers threw 37 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions for 4,115 yards with a 68.9 completion percentage in the regular season. While Brady — at the age of 44 — threw for 5,316 yards and 43 touchdowns.
All three men had unbelievable seasons, but only two of them have a shot as voters have decided to ignore the contributions of wide receivers.
When Alabama’s DeVonta Smith won the Heisman Trophy in 2020, it was the first time a wide receiver had done it since Desmond Howard in 1991 — almost seven years before Smith was born. Since 1997 — the year that Charles Woodson became the only defensive player to win the Heisman — 18 of the last 25 Heisman winners have been quarterbacks. During that same time frame, there have been two different five-year runs in which quarterbacks were the only ones to raise the trophy.
Despite how special a receiver may be, they’re rarely viewed as the most important player on a team.
“I think he has an idea of how well he is playing, but he is truly one of the most humble, special players I have ever been around,” Rams coach Sean McVay said about Kupp last month. “He doesn’t need all the accolades. I think it’s great he gets his first Pro Bowl recognition. I don’t know how he’s not going to be a first-team All-Pro player. I think he’s a legitimate candidate for a lot of awards, but he is about our team. He’s interested in leading the right way, making the plays that are instrumental and vital to the outcomes of our team’s success and he does a lot of stuff without the football as well. But he’s so special. You and I both know that. Pretty cool.”
In the coming weeks, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady will be adding another shiny object to their trophy case as both of them have already won the award three times. However, Kupp does have a chance to win an award that those two aren’t eligible for this year — Super Bowl MVP. Since 2000, a wide receiver has won it four times, which is only second to quarterbacks — who’ve claimed 14 of them.