Cooper Kupp has interesting take on NFL records being set this season
Cooper Kupp is within striking distance of some all-time NFL records going into Week 18, but something about it does not feel quite right to him.
The L.A. Rams receiver told reporters this week that he thinks records being set this season, the first 17-game season in NFL history, should be viewed as separate from those that were set in 16-game seasons.
“We’re in a new age of football here,” Kupp said, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN. “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 that they were played in those 16 games.
“What those guys did in 16 games, it wouldn’t seem right, I don’t know, for those to be broken in 17 games,” Kupp went on. “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 that they put together. Those are incredible things, incredible accomplishments. You kind of have to separate the two.”
Kupp, who has played in all 16 games for the Rams this year, currently has 138 receptions and 1,829 receiving yards heading into Week 18 against the San Francisco 49ers. That puts him in position to break the all-time records held by Michael Thomas (149 receptions in 2019) and Calvin Johnson (1,964 receiving yards in 2012). Kupp can also become just the fourth player ever to earn the NFL’s receiving “triple crown.” He currently leads the league in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.
Of course, the NFL did not always have a 16-game regular season. They went from 14 to 16 games after the 1977 campaign, but virtually no one these days draws a distinction between NFL records set pre- and post-1977.
Even in other sports, we have seen how debates like this one fade over time. When Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season MLB home run record in 1961, there was some controversy over the legitimacy of the new record as Maris did it in a 162-game season (as opposed to Ruth achieving it in a 154-game season). But public acceptance of Maris’ record grew over the decades, and he was universally accepted as the single-season home run king until his record was broken in 1998.
Simply put, times change, and many records change along with them.
It makes sense that Kupp would feel less accomplished about setting an all-time record with the benefit of an extra game. In fact, one all-time great was vocally unhappy about the addition of the 17th game. But Kupp, if he can set a record or two this year, will know that he did something special regardless if those records are able to hold up through 17-game seasons in the future.
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