FanSided Sports Oscars: Cooper Kupp wins Best Male Athlete in a Supporting Role

Extra, Los Angeles Rams

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The FanSided Sports Oscars have arrived, and here is the winner of the Best Male Athlete in a Supporting Role award. 

It is Oscar season, which means that it is also time for the FanSided Sports Oscars! Much like in the acting awards, there are some that performed tremendously in a lead role, and others who excelled in a supporting role.

When it comes to the best male athlete in a supporting role, the winner of the 2022 award is Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp.

Cooper Kupp was an invaluable piece for the Los Angeles Rams

Kupp has become a superstar in Los Angeles ever since he as drafted in the third round by the Rams in 2017. Yet, he had a true Hollywood-style story throughout the 2021 season.

In the 2020 season, Kupp caught 92-of-124 targets for 974 yards and three touchdowns. The majority of those receptions came on passes from Jared Goff. The Rams made the playoffs, upset the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round and were eventually eliminated by the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.

After that campaign, Kupp entered the 2021 league year with a new quarterback — Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. Kupp was always one of the best wide receivers in the league already, but he had a near historic season this past year.

Kupp played in all 17 regular-season games for the Rams, where he led the league in receptions (145), receiving yards (1,947), touchdowns (16) and receiving yards per game (114.5). The wide receiver fell 18 yards short of breaking Pro Football Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record. In the final week of the regular season, Kupp caught all seven of his targets for 118 yards and a touchdown.

As a result of these numbers, Kupp was named the Offensive Player of the Year and finished in third place in the NFL MVP award voting. Kupp holds the distinction of being the first wide receiver to receive an NFL MVP vote since Randy Moss back in 1998.

Even after the regular season ended, Kupp was far from finished. He saved his best performances for the playoffs.

Kupp emerged as a hero in the NFC Divisional Round against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Los Angeles had a 27-3 lead, but figuratively and literally fumbled it away, allowing Tom Brady and the Bucs to tie things up with seconds remaining in regulation. The game looked destined for overtime, but Kupp wanted the game to be over, with the end result being the Rams advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

On the final drive, Kupp took advantage of Tampa Bay rushing Stafford with six defenders, ran straight down the middle of the field and hauled in a deep pass for a 44-yard reception to set them up in field-goal territory. That allowed Matt Gay to kick the game-winning field goal, eliminating the Buccaneers and sending Brady into a brief retirement.

Kupp finished the game with nine receptions for 183 yards and one touchdown.

Then, in the NFC Championship Game against the rival San Francisco 49ers, Kupp was targeted heavily by Stafford. 14 passes were directed his way, and he caught 11 of them for 142 yards and two touchdowns.

Kupp saved his best performance for last — Super Bowl 56. The Rams were already without Robert Woods, who tore his ACL midway through the season. Los Angeles looked to be on a roll, especially with Kupp and Odell Beckham scoring the first two touchdowns for the Rams. But, Beckham was lost for the game later in the first half, after it was revealed he tore his ACL. Kupp put the team on his back, specifically on their final offensive drive.

After running the ball for a 7-yard gain on the fourth-and-one, Kupp caught passes for 8-, 22- and 8-yards to set Los Angeles up in the red zone. After a touchdown was negated due to an offensive holding penalty, Kupp got it back, catching a one-yard pass from Stafford over Bengals cornerback Eli Apple to give the Rams the late 23-20 lead.

Five plays later, Aaron Donald and the defense closed things out by sacking Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on fourth down to win the Rams their second Super Bowl title, their first since 1999.

With eight receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns to his credit, Kupp was named Super Bowl 56 MVP, wrapping a bow on what was a truly award-winning season for the Rams wideout. That is why Kupp wins Best Male Athlete in a Supporting Role.

Check out who else was nominated for Best Male Athlete in a Supporting Role and who else won in all the major categories in the 2022 FanSided Sports Oscars.

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