Allegany Communications Sports
The circus is coming to Bawlmer, hons!
Just call M&T Bank Stadium the Big Top, because the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens are going to square off for the AFC championship; and by circus, I don’t mean Taylor Swift. I mean Jason Kelce, the brother of Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce, who has now taken up with the Swift company of performers since his Philadelphia Eagles went down in flames last week.
If I were ever to become half as “involved” as Jason Kelce seemed to be and if I did half the stuff at an NFL game that Jason Kelce did Sunday night in Buffalo, I think there is a good chance I’d receive an escort to the exit (or a holding cell) well before halftime. Then again, he’s Jason Kelce and I’m not.
Memo to CBS: The viewing public would much rather see Taylor Swift.
As for all of the anti-Swifts out there, brother, they sure were right, weren’t they? Taylor Swift’s being around sure did wreck the whole season for the Kansas City Chiefs, didn’t it? The Chiefs will now play for a trip to the Super Bowl for the sixth straight season, which makes you wonder — should the defending champs win the game in Baltimore this week, how the presence of Swift will impact the value of Super Bowl ads.
The curmudgeons (or whatever they are) who claim Swift takes away from the entire NFL experience just don’t understand the NFL experience anymore, which is first and foremost entertainment. The NFL can’t get enough of Taylor Swift and, not to give the scriptwriters any ideas, would absolutely love for her to be at the Super Bowl, the rating bonanza of every #NFLTheTVShow season.
In fact, this week’s AFC championship game will have all kinds of things a certain faction out there cannot stand: Taylor Swift, Lamar Jackson and Bud Light commercials — Bud Light commercials with Peyton Manning and Emmitt Smith in them, no less, so there you go!
The Ravens, after their 34-10 win over the Houston Texans in one semifinal, opened the week as 3-point favorites, which seems right given homefield itself is worth 3 points, and have it all going right now, beginning with their defense, which is the No. 1 defense in the league to Kansas City’s No. 2.
The Ravens were the only team to keep the Houston offense out of the end zone this season, and they did it twice.
“Very respectable group of gentlemen who played their butts off,” Houston head coach DeMeco Ryans said of the Ravens. “They just played their butts off.”
During the game on Saturday, Jim Nagy, a former NFL scout and current executive director of the Senior Bowl, posted on social media, “During draft time, you always hear Ravens scouts talking about finding guys ‘who are Ravens.’ There’s been so much stability that being a ‘Raven’ means something. This is a roster filled with ‘Ravens’ right now. Such a well-built and well-coached team. They’ll be hard to beat.”
For the Ravens, Saturday will be the sixth AFC championship game appearance in team history and the first since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. Yet it will be the first AFC championship game played in Baltimore since 1971 when the Baltimore Colts beat the Oakland Raiders at Memorial Stadium. The Colts quarterback that day was a fellow by the name of John Unitas.
There will be two pretty good quarterbacks in this game in Baltimore as well in Lamar Jackson, seemingly the MVP of the league for the second time of his career, and the man who has quarterbacked the Chiefs to all six of these AFC title games, not to mention two Super Bowl titles, Patrick Mahomes.
With the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over the Bills, Mahomes is now tied for seventh all-time with 13 playoff wins, with as many as Brett Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Roger Staubach, and more than Aaron Rodgers. If the Chiefs go on to win the Super Bowl, he’ll be alone in third, behind only Tom Brady and Joe Montana.
And … he’s only 28 years old.
The Ravens are clearly intent upon doing anything they can to prevent that from happening, or at least delay it for a year or two; but, of course, it won’t be easy as Kansas City has suddenly become the New England Patriots of their day.
Even though the regular season did not seem to be up to the Chiefs’ recent standard, none of that matters now, because here they are again playing for another AFC title, which is what does matter.
As the old saying goes, “Anyone who loves the law or sausages should never watch either being made.”
Going to be quite a game.
Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT