Any fan of pro football was glued to their television on Sunday, watching the Los Angeles Rams clinch a spot to Superbowl LVI with a 20-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Facing off against the Rams on February 13 will be the Cincinnati Bengals, who beat the Chiefs on Sunday 27-24 in overtime.
Many Christians and conservatives have been put off by the National Football League’s drift into supporting leftist politics over the past several years. And the NFL has suffered as a result, losing millions of would-be viewers.
But despite some player’s antics, other NFL athletes are truly stellar individuals.
One of those individuals is Cooper Kupp, a wide receiver and Number 10 for the Rams.
In an article in Slate, writer Alex Kirshner recounted that in high school, Kupp was “doubted” and “undervalued.”
“When Kupp graduated high school in Washington state in 2012, he did not have a single scholarship offer from the Football Bowl Subdivision, college football’s top division,” he writes.
But Kupp accepted a scholarship at Eastern Washington University (EWU) and quickly proved his mettle.
He was a consensus FCS (NCAA Division I) All-American for four straight seasons. He accrued 15 FCS, 11 Big Sky and 26 EWU records with 6,464 yards, 428 receptions, 73 touchdown catches, 124.3 average yards per game and 1.40 average TDs per game.
Then in 2017, Kupp was drafted by the Rams in the third round.
Widely known as a devout Christian, Kupp has kept his faith and family as his top priorities.
Kupp, now a father of two, reflected on his first year as a parent in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.
“I do have a one-year-old now, so I get the 24/7 training experience,” Kupp said with a smile.
Kupp knows the importance of family as a 3rd generation pro football player. His dad, Craig Kupp, is a former NFL quarterback for the Cardinals and Cowboys while his grandfather is a former NFL lineman. The Kupps are just the 5th family to have three generations drafted into the NFL.
“It’s been incredible to have such experience to lean on and just perspective,” Kupp said about his father and grandfather. “How much they love their family, how much they took care of things, how they treated people.”
“I’m now being able to live out my dream, but I have such bigger things happening in my life,” Kupp said.
“Beyond football, as much as I absolutely love football and know that I’m going to put everything that I have into it, that I’ve got a family at home and my faith in Christ as well, that just is more important to make sure that’s healthy.
“That’s something that my dad and grandpa showed me,” Kupp added.
In the 2021-22 season, Kupp has had a breakout year.
Even before Sunday’s game, Kupp had already become the first player ever in NFL history to garner 2,000 receiving yards in a single season – regular season and postseason combined.
Kupp also had 159 catches this season, also the most for any player in NFL history.
But after Sunday’s game, Kupp can chalk up another 142 yards and 11 receptions, for a total of 2,333 yards with 170 receptions this season and postseason.
Kupp’s success is even more remarkable, considering he suffered a torn ACL halfway through his second professional season in 2018.
Craig Kupp, in an interview, also spoke about the importance that the Kupp family places on their faith.
“Faith is a huge part of that … We’re not number one, we’re not the number one focus of our lives. It’s others. It’s Christ first and then it’s others starting with the closest people to you,” Craig Kupp said.
It’s that lesson, passed down from generation to generation, that Number 10 will take with him to Superbowl LVI.
Photo from Reuters.