Thursday, January 20, 2022

Matthew Stafford reflects on historic seasons with Calvin Johnson, Cooper Kupp: ‘It makes me feel lucky’


Way back in 2012, Hall of Fame wide receiver Calvin Johnson put together the best season of his career. Johnson caught 122 passes for a league-record 1,964 yards, and added five touchdowns through the air for good measure. Johnson was elected to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro first team, and deservingly so. 

Nine years later, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp has put together the best season of his career. Kupp has caught 138 passes for 1,829 yards and 15 touchdowns — all of which are league-leading totals. He has already been elected to the Pro Bowl and will surely be named a first-team All-Pro, and he’s deserving of both honors.

And much like Johnson, Kupp’s quarterback for his historic season is Matthew Stafford. This week, Stafford reflected on being part of both incredible receiving seasons. 

“It’s a cool thing to be a part of it,” Stafford said, per the Los Angeles Daily News. “It makes me feel lucky I got to play with two great players in different eras.”

It’s tough to imagine two players more different than Johnson and Kupp putting together similar seasons. Johnson is an all-time freak athlete from a Power 5 school who was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, and seemingly always destined to be the best receiver in football. Kupp was widely considered a subpar athlete after disappointing at the NFL Combine, and he was drafted in the third round out of Eastern Washington. He was largely a short-area slot receiver for the first few years of his career, but this season he has broken out as an all-field monster who is practically unstoppable. 

And yet, both players ended up with monster numbers that proved their place at the top of the wide receiver position, and did so while working with the same quarterback. Like Stafford himself said, that’s pretty cool.

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