Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp capped his brilliant 2021 season with MVP honors in Super Bowl LVI -- but he received relatively scant consideration for the regular-season version of the award.
This despite a record-setting season in which the 28-year-old Kupp notched the so-called triple crown for receivers, leading the league in all of catches, receiving yards, and touchdown receptions.
But one voter, NFL insider and 670 The Score contributor Hub Arkush, saw something in Kupp's magical season that others did not.
Arkush, who made headlines earlier in the season when he defiantly declared he would not be casting his vote for eventual winner and "bad guy" Aaron Rodgers over his controversial vaccine stance, joined Parkins & Spiegel on The Score on Tuesday to explain his ballot.
"Your Cooper Kupp MVP vote aged unbelievably well," Parkins said to Arkush, citing Kupp's incredible postseason run.
"What it came down to -- it is a regular-season award, and the fact that it aged well is nice -- but at the end of the day, the idea that there was ever any personal bias is ridiculous," Arkush explained. "It's subjective, and there's nothing that requires that the MVP be considered for on-the-field [performance] only. It's not in the rules, it's not in the instructions, and I asked the question, 'If it was, then why give Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, which are strictly on-the-field, statistics-based?
"And if one of those guys isn't the Most Valuable Player, I would think you have to consider everything he contributes to his team. And I just looked at a long list of worthy candidates this year. I would have no argument with Rodgers, [Tom] Brady, Cooper Kupp, with Jonathan Taylor winning it. And I can give you a few more -- it was really a great year for candidates. And so, I purposely looked beyond just the on-the-field stuff, and said, 'Are there any liabilities here?' Rodgers brought a ton of liabilities to the Packers organization this year. That was always my issue. He clearly is the MVP, I don't dispute it in any way."
Kupp finished third with the lone vote from Arkush, while Brady finished a distance second with 10 votes.
"I would love to know the other 10 voters who did not vote for [Rodgers or Kupp], what they were thinking," Arkush continued. "They obviously went Brady. I take exception that it's a quarterback-only award. Which makes no sense to me, but it seems to be that's what it's become."
Indeed, Kupp winning MVP would have been historic -- no wide receiver has ever taken home the honor.
In fact, the last non-quarterback to win the MVP Award was Adrian Peterson in 2012. Since the 2000 season, only four non-quarterbacks have been named league MVP, with all of them being running backs -- Marshall Faulk, Shaun Alexander, LaDainian Tomlinson and Peterson.
"The other thing that makes me crazy is, 'Well it's Aaron Rodgers because the Packers would be a .500 team without him.' Nobody knows that! The Packers had a fantastic defense this year. They had as many All-Pros and Pro Bowlers as anybody else. I'm guilty of it -- I don't think they'd be nearly as good without Rodgers, but how good would the Bucs be without Brady? Where would the Rams have been without Kupp?
"So, it's tremendously subjective, and I think I got it right, and really the playoffs may have helped the case, but that's not part of it because the playoffs aren't part of it. It's a regular-season award."
In the Super Bowl, Kupp had by his standards a relatively quiet game until the Rams' final, go-ahead drive, at which point he'd reeled in just four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.
But on the last drive, the Rams went early and often to their most prolific receiver, and Kupp brought in four catches for 39 yards, including the game-winning score, and he also drew three crucial penalties against the Bengals defense. He also converted a fourth-down handoff into a seven-yard gain, helping to prevent the Rams' fledgling drive from stalling out prematurely.