Superstar Taylor Swift, not Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, headlined an ugly AFC title game – The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Chiefs won the AFC title in dreary Baltimore. On a day when defenses dominated, the pop star was a welcome distraction. Well, for some.
BALTIMORE — The best coach on the planet and the best quarterback on the planet have the most popular woman on the planet wearing their colors like a hard-core fan. She defected from the hardiest fan base on the planet because the best tight end on the planet might be better than all of them.
And now, in two weeks, all of them will be in the most sinful city on the planet for the biggest game on the planet.
How hot was the Taylor Swift AFC championship game? Referee Shawn Smith lost his voice and fire alarms were going off in the middle of the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Literally.
The Taylor Swift Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens, 17-10. Swift, raised an Eagles fan, is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, and she follows his progress. Last week she witnessed his best playoff game in a calendar year in post-blizzard Buffalo, where she shared a suite with Jason Kelce and other assorted Kelces. Sunday afternoon found her in dreary Baltimore, where trick-play addict Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, the best improvisational QB in history, engineered a pedestrian win.
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On a moist day when defenses dominated, Swift was a welcome distraction. Well, for some.
The internet threw its usual conniption fit when the cameras flashed to her celebration of Kelce’s touchdown catch that ended the Chiefs’ first possession.
Social media became even more antisocial a few minutes later when running back Isiah Pacheco, No. 10, scored his TD. Swift flashed all 10 of her digits in celebration, and the Tay-Tay haters flashed their middle digits at her.
Some might find it annoying, but Swift is the biggest female worldwide star since Madonna, and she might be even bigger. Think about it: The Ravens celebrated their game-tying touchdown by mocking Swift’s “swag-surfing” celebration. She’s a meme even when she’s a fan.
This was the only game of the year so far in which Swift’s presence might not have overshadowed the actual participants.
Reid is the NFL’s best coach, with two Super Bowl wins and four AFC titles in the last five years. Mahomes is a two-time NFL MVP and a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He now has thrown 17 postseason touchdown passes to Kelce, who on Sunday broke Jerry Rice’s record of 151 playoff receptions — Kelce has 156 — and drew to within three of Rice’s playoff TD mark of 22.
“I mean, of course, Travis ran the wrong route” on the TD, Mahomes confessed.
He probably was stargazing, eh Trav?
Oh, right. Kelce’s gotten so big (by association) that he couldn’t be bothered to address the press postgame.
Reid did, and he might be the biggest non-pop star of them all. He’s been coaching the Chiefs for 11 years, the third-longest active tenure. John Harbaugh, who was an assistant of Reid’s in Philadelphia, is second, having coached the Ravens for 16 years, with a Super Bowl win. Harbaugh beat his brother Jim after the 2012 season, when Jim was coaching the San Francisco 49ers. Jim Harbaugh just won the NCAA championship with Michigan, where John embraced him on the field. Jim Harbaugh then accepted the head coaching job with the Los Angeles Chargers, but he found time Sunday to attend his brother’s biggest moment in more than a decade. Jim was not near Tay-Tay’s seats.
Finally, John Harbaugh’s quarterback, Lamar Jackson, is likely to win his second NFL MVP award for his play this season. He is, arguably, the most talented all-around quarterback since Michael Vick.
These are huge names. There was an absolute constellation of stars at M&T. Tay-Tay just happened to be the brightest.
Except for a few plays by the quarterbacks, including a 32-yard pass from Mahomes to Marquez Valdes-Scantling on third-and-9 just before the two-minute warning, the game was not nearly as interesting as its celebrities. Evidence: Eagles center Jason Kelce, Travis’ big brother, appeared to fall asleep in his seat.
The Ravens gave the ball away three times, which cost them 13 points. Jackson’s sack-fumble at the Ravens’ 33 gifted the Chiefs a field goal. Zay Flowers’ goal-line fumble on the first play of the fourth quarter erased a touchdown. Jackson’s end-zone interception from the Chiefs’ 20 wasted a chance at a short field goal.
It was a dumb throw, but Jackson and his teammates spent most of the game doing dumb things. They took two penalties for roughing the passer, two for unnecessary roughness, and one for taunting.
Nobody took more taunting than Tay-Tay.
She shook it off.



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