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Rams’ Cooper Kupp is first receiver to capture Super Bowl MVP despite not accomplishing this statistic


Cooper Kupp became the eighth receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP after helping the Rams defeat the Bengals this past Sunday night. Kupp’s performance, however, is a little different from the other receivers who have won Super Bowl MVP. 

Kupp is the first receiver to win Super Bowl MVP who did not lead all receivers in receiving yards in the game. Kupp, who caught eight passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns (including the game-winning score), had a slightly lower receiving total than Bengals receiver Tee Higgins, who caught four passes for 100 yards and two scores. Most of Higgins’ damage was done on a 75-yard touchdown reception that gave Cincinnati a 17-13 lead at the start of the second half. 

Here’s a look at how the stats of the seven previous receivers that won Super Bowl MVP compared to the second-leading receiver. 

X Lynn Swann (PIT): 4 catches, 161 yards, 1 TD  Drew Pearson (DAL): 2 catches, 59 yards, 1 TD Steelers 21, Cowboys 17 

XI

Fred Biletnikoff (OAK): 4 catches, 79 yards

Sammy White (MIN): 5 catches, 77 yards, 1 TD

Raiders 32, Vikings 14

XXIII

Jerry Rice (SF): 11 catches, 215 yards, 1 TD

Roger Craig (SF): 8 catches, 101 yards

49ers 20, Bengals 16 

XXXIX

Deion Branch (NE): 11 catches, 133 yards 

Terrell Owens (PHI): 9 catches, 122 yards 

Patriots 24, Eagles 21 

XL

Hines Ward (PIT): 5 catches, 123 yards, 1 TD 

Joe Jurevicius (SEA): 5 catches, 93 yards 

Steelers 21, Seahawks 10 

XLIII

Santonio Holmes (PIT): 9 catches, 131 yards, 1 TD

Larry Fitzgerald (ARI): 7 catches, 127 yards, 2 TD 

Steelers 27, Cardinals 23 

LIII

Julian Edelman (NE): 10 catches, 141 yards 

Brandin Cooks (LA): 8 catches, 120 yards 

Patriots 13, Rams 3 

This year’s Super Bowl featured several of the NFL‘s top receivers in Kupp, Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Odell Beckham Jr. This year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Chase caught five passes for 89 yards against the Rams that included a one-handed, 46-yard grab that set up the Bengals’ first score. Beckham caught two passes for 52 yards and a score before leaving the game with an injury during the first minute of the second quarter. 

With Beckham out, Kupp put the Rams’ offense on his shoulders on its final scoring drive. Trailing 20-16 late in the fourth quarter, Kupp caught four passes for 39 yards on the drive that included a 22-yard catch. He also converted on a key fourth-and-1 play by picking up 7 yards on a jet sweep. Kupp’s 1-yard touchdown catch gave the Rams the lead for good with 1:25 left. 

Kupp recently won Offensive Player of the Year honors after leading the NFL in catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions during the regular season. His 147 receptions and 1,947 receiving yards were the second-highest regular-season totals in league history. The 28-year-old wideout became the first receiver in league history to surpass 2,000 receiving yards in a season during the Rams’ win over the Cardinals in the wild card round of the playoffs.

In 21 games this season, including the postseason, Kupp tallied 178 receptions for 2,425 yards and 22 touchdowns. That production helped deliver the Rams’ first Super Bowl win as a Los Angeles-based team. 

“I truly believe this would not be possible without my family, without my wife, without my boys, without the support system that I have behind me,” Kupp said upon winning Offensive Player of the Year, via the Rams’ team website. “I’m just so incredibly thankful for them and for their willingness to sacrifice to allow me to play this game with the respect that it demands.”

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