Kupp closing in on 'incredible' NFL triple crown

By Sports Desk January 04, 2022

Cooper Kupp is closing in on what he concedes would be an "incredible" achievement of earning the NFL triple crown.

The Los Angeles Rams wide receiver leads the league in catches, touchdown receptions and receiving yards going into Week 18 of the regular season.

Only three players in the Super Bowl era have ever finished top of the standings in all three categories in the same year: Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Steve Smith. It is 16 years since the feat was last achieved.

Kupp has 138 receptions for 1,829 yards, totals which look highly unlikely to be caught in the last week of action before the playoffs.

His total of 15 touchdowns also looks strong, although the Cincinnati Bengals' rookie sensation Ja'Marr Chase has closed to within two behind him in that category after finding the endzone three times against the Kansas City Chiefs last time out.

Kupp's shot at history will come when the Rams host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the team still looking to wrap up the NFC West title with the Arizona Cardinals in hot pursuit behind them.

"It would be a pretty incredible thing," Kupp said, per ESPN, of the prospect of earning the triple crown.

"There are a lot of good football players in this league, a lot of really good receivers who I've got a ton of respect for, so it would be very cool."

Kupp will also have the chance to set the single-season receiving yards record, which is currently held by Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson (1,964 in 2012).

The 28-year-old could also surpass the receptions record set by Michael Thomas (149) two years ago.

But Kupp concedes those records would come with an asterisk given the NFL is now playing a 17-game regular season.

"We're in a new age of football here," he said. "We're playing 17 games of football a year, and a lot of the stuff that happened before that, those records hold a different weight, being played in those 16 games.

"What those guys did in 16 games, it wouldn't seem right to, I don't know, for those to be broken in 17 games.

"It wouldn't hold the same weight to me as it does for guys that have done that in a 16-game season and the accomplishments those guys had and the seasons they put together. 

"Those are incredible things, incredible accomplishments. You kind of have to separate the two.

"I just have an incredible respect for what those guys were able to do, what they were able to accomplish, what they were able to produce for their teams in those 16 games."

The Rams are assured of a place in the playoffs regardless of the outcome against the Niners, but the prize of a home playoff game in Wild Card Weekend and a division title mean the stakes are still high.

"My priorities are going out and winning this game this week, whatever it takes to win it," added Kupp, when asked if setting records were his priority.

"If it means spending more time blocking defensive ends and being able to get [running back] Sony Michel sprung for some big gains, that would be huge. 

"I just want to do my job, whatever they ask of me, I just want to do my job over and over again and be a part of helping this team win."

The Rams face a Niners team who are looking to seal their own postseason berth. 

To progress, Kyle Shanahan's team must win or tie against the Rams or hope the New Orleans Saints fail to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

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