Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp rightfully earned Super Bowl MVP honors for his dominant performance in Sunday's Lombardi-capturing victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Kupp was his commanding self, securing eight-of-10 targets for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning score with under two minutes left to play in regulation. Kupp's MVP-worthy presentation in Super Bowl LVI put a well-deserved bow on a fantastic and truly historic season that saw Kupp lead the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947), and touchdowns (16). Kupp's postseason run was truly excellent. The former Eastern Washington and Senior Bowl standout accumulated 33 receptions for 478 yards and six touchdowns en route to leading the Rams to four consecutive postseason victories as the four-seed in the NFC. Kupp's playoff showings shall forever be remembered and appropriately honored, but Larry Fitzgerald's playoff performances in 2008 remain the greatest single-season postseason run in wide receiver history. Fitzgerald was truly in rare form all throughout Arizona's attempts to capture Super Bowl XLIII in 2008. The future Canton-bound receiver set a pair of impressive postseason records by recording the most receiving yards (546) and touchdowns (7) in NFL playoff history. Those records remain at the top of the totem pole today. Kupp's 478 yards and six touchdowns rank second on the all-time list, appropriately behind Fitzgerald. Both receivers appeared in four games throughout their respective showings and helped their team reach the Super Bowl. The major difference for some may be that Kupp actually won the Super Bowl, whereas Fitzgerald was left brokenhearted as Santonio Holmes scored the game-winning touchdown to help catapult the Pittsburgh Steelers over the Cardinals. Holmes' touchdown earned him MVP honors, an award that would have likely been granted to Fitzgerald had the Cardinals managed to reign victorious. Kupp's argument is undoubtedly aided by his game-clinching touchdown reception that helped the Rams actually capture the Lombardi, but Fitzgerald's perceived "failures" in this area were through no fault of his own. Long-time Super Bowl viewers will recall that Fitzgerald scored a historic 64-yard catch-and-run touchdown across the middle of the field which awarded the Cardinals a 23-20 lead with just 2:37 left to play. It was truly an unbelievable play by an unbelievable player. Had Arizona's defense successfully stopped Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger from completing the comeback on the ensuing drive, Fitzgerald's legendary touchdown would have stood as an unforgettable Super-Bowl-winning score and moment. There are other factors that have us slightly leaning towards Fitzgerald when analyzing the two performances. The former Pittsburgh Panther recorded 100-plus receiving yards in all four of Arizona's playoff contests, whereas Kupp managed to cross the century mark in just two of Los Angeles' four games. Fitzgerald also bested Kupp on a per reception basis by averaging 18.2 yards per reception versus Kupp's average of 14.5 yards per catch. Of course, Fitzgerald also scored seven touchdowns, beating out Kupp's end-zone totals by one (six). Kupp's postseason will be fondly remembered, as it should be, but we must be careful not to let recency bias creep into the evaluation.
- Nov 22, 2022
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