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Cooper Kupp fulfills a vision: Super Bowl MVP

Moments like this are tough to visualize, unless you’re Cooper Kupp.

By Sunday night, the wide receiver from Eastern Washington had just led the Los Angeles Rams on an epic drive to win Super Bowl 56.

Kupp made all the big plays during the 15-play drive, then caught the winning touchdown pass as the Rams outlasted the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-20.

He also was named the game’s MVP, and he celebrated with wife Anna and their two young boys as confetti rained down.

And yes, they went to Disneyland.

You couldn’t make this up, but Kupp told reporters after the game that he’d visualized this three years ago.

In February 2019, the Rams had just lost Super Bowl LIII to the New England Patriots. Kupp was on the sidelines, unable to help after suffering an ACL injury three months earlier.

“There was this vision that God revealed to me that we were going to come back and we were going to be a part of a Super Bowl, we were going to win it, and somehow I was going to walk off the field as the MVP of the game,” Kupp told reporters.

Asked to elaborate, Kupp said, “I was just walking off the field – it was as clear as day – I was walking off the field and I turned around before walking back to the tunnel and it just hit me. It was as clear as I can see you guys here right now. Pretty incredible.”

Yes, it was.

The Cincinnati defense focused more attention on Kupp after fellow receiver Odell Beckham Jr. left the game with an injury. The Rams were slow to respond, sticking with a running game that was going nowhere.

With 6 minutes left and still trailing, the Rams went to Kupp over and over again.

“He’s an unbelievable player,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “I’m so proud of him, all the work that he puts in, the sacrifice, the time, the effort.

“It’s just so fun to get to go to work with him every single day and do what he does and watch him do his thing. It’s pretty special,” Stafford said.

The occasion was special for so many old friends and teammates who reveled on social media after Kupp put an exclamation mark on the most successful season ever by an NFL receiver.

Kendrick Bourne, a teammate of Kupp’s for four years at Eastern and now a receiver with the New England Patriots, posted on Twitter that “I wanna be juss like you! Congrats! can’t wait to see what u do next.”

Another former EWU teammate, linebacker Jack Sendelbach urged the school to “retire #10 immediately,” a reference to Kupp’s jersey number.

Pride spread in all directions

For EWU interim president David May, the story of Kupp “mirrors so many students who find a home right here at EWU. He is an inspiring guy in so many ways and a great way to define what it means to be an Eastern Kind of Guy/Gal.”

Tom Wistrcill, commissioner of the Big Sky Conference, tapped into the overachiever mentality of Kupp to remind student-athletes in every sport that “you can get there from here!”

Having reached the summit Sunday night, Kupp couldn’t resist a fond look back.

“It is just part of my journey,” he told reporters. “I was supposed to go to Eastern Washington and I met so many great friends and so many guys from my time at Eastern that were standing up there with me at my wedding.”

“Lifelong friendships, even people, just the community in Cheney, Washington, I was just able to make relationships there,” Kupp said. “It was just a special place for me to be. I was surrounded by some really good people, some receivers and coaches that taught me a ton, challenged me and pushed me.

“That was just where I was supposed to be, so I do not hold any regrets or feel any grudge toward anyone. I am just thankful for the path I have been on.”