Ravens 101 for Swifties: Here’s what Taylor Swift fans need to know about Travis Kelce and the Chiefs’ opponent
- January 23, 2024
One of the most popular figures in the world is likely to be the center of attention in Baltimore on Sunday. No, it’s not Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson or his counterpart on the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes. It’s Taylor Swift. You might have heard of her.
Baltimore-area Swifties are undoubtedly excited for the world-famous singer, songwriter, musician and producer to appear at M&T Bank Stadium to cheer on her boyfriend, Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, for a chance to play on the greatest stage in sports — the Super Bowl.
For Swifties who aren’t familiar with the Chiefs’ opponent on Sunday, here’s what you need to know about the Ravens:
The Ravens have their own Superman
Jackson might not be quite as accomplished or popular as Mahomes, but he’s not terribly far off. Baltimore’s quarterback is the favorite to win his second NFL Most Valuable Player Award after also claiming the league’s top honor unanimously after his incredible 2019 season. But the Ravens haven’t won much in the playoffs with Jackson — until now. Another popular figure is wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who was rumored to be seeing Kim Kardashian last year and has more Instagram followers than any other player in the NFL with 17.7 million.
The Ravens are going to be the Chiefs’ toughest test yet
No team in the NFL was better in the regular season than the Ravens, who went 13-4 to earn home-field advantage until the Super Bowl and are favored to beat the Chiefs on Sunday. While Kansas City battled the Buffalo Bills tooth and nail this past weekend, Baltimore easily defeated the Houston Texans, 34-10, to advance. Jackson is having a better season than Mahomes, and the Ravens’ defense is the best in the league by most metrics. Baltimore has no real weaknesses, and it will be enjoying a loud home crowd, which will see the first home AFC championship game in Ravens history and first for the city since the Colts, who left town for Indianapolis many years ago, beat the Oakland Raiders in 1971.
The teams haven’t played in a while and almost everything has changed
September 2021 was the last time these two teams faced each other, and the Ravens pulled through in a tight one, 36-35, in prime time. But Mahomes, Kelce and the Chiefs beat Baltimore three straight years from 2018 to 2020. Both teams look much different from the last time they squared off, but the mainstays — Jackson, Mahomes and Kelce — remain.
That famous custom jacket has Ravens roots
You know the one, right? The one she wore to the Chiefs’ playoff game against the Miami Dolphins? The woman who created it, Kristin Juszczyk, graduated in 2016 from Towson University, which is located in a suburb of Baltimore. And before her husband, Kyle Juszczyk, played for the San Francisco 49ers, he was a fullback with the Ravens from 2013 to 2016.
Travis Kelce has performed all too well against the Ravens
I mentioned the Ravens beat the Chiefs the last time they played, but Kelce had a good game, finishing with 109 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. Overall, Kelce has 33 receptions for 435 yards and two touchdowns in five career games against Baltimore.
The Ravens have their own star tight end
He’s not dating one of the most famous superstars in the world, but Mark Andrews is Jackson’s favorite receiver. He’s been hurt since mid-November but there’s a real chance he makes his triumphant return on Sunday. He led Baltimore with six touchdown catches when he got hurt, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if, by the end of the game, everyone is talking about the Ravens’ tight end and not Kelce. Even the Ravens’ backup tight end, Isaiah Likely, has played well, catching six touchdown passes in his past six games.
The Ravens have their own Super Bowls, too
While the Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions and also won at the end of the 2019 season, the Ravens won world championships at the end of the 2000 and 2012 seasons. That’s not bad for a franchise that started in 1996, as it’s one fewer than Kansas City has in its 64 seasons before this one.
Baltimore has been in exile until now
Swift skipped the Baltimore area for her global “The Eras Tour,” which made stops seemingly everywhere but here. M&T Bank Stadium has hosted Beyoncé, Billy Joel and others, but Swift has never played in Baltimore. The last time she performed in Maryland was in 2018 with a stop at FedEx Field (home of the NFL’s Washington Commanders) during her Reputation Stadium World Tour. So there will be plenty of Baltimoreans eager to get a glimpse of the superstar as they cheer on the Ravens.
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