Taylor Swift’s boyfriend and the Kansas City Chiefs are coming to town to take on the Ravens in the AFC championship game Sunday. If you’re reading this, we don’t have to tell you that, over the course of Swift and Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce’s relationship, football has played a pivotal role.
The world’s biggest pop star is often in a luxury box sitting alongside members of the Kelce family and other VIPs to watch the Chiefs play. Will that mean Swift comes to Baltimore? We in the world of content creation sure hope so!
Some spoilsports try to argue Swift and Kelce are getting too much attention or question why anybody would tune in to a game just because a singer is in attendance. In other words, “Stick to football!”
Nonsense, we say. But there is more that can be done to bridge the gap between these two fan groups. With that in mind, here’s a guide to some of the biggest stars on the Ravens roster and the Taylor Swift songs that explain them.
Lamar Jackson - ‘Look What You Made Me Do’
But I got smarter, I got harder in the nick of time/Honey, I rose up from the dead, I do it all the time/I’ve got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined/I check it once, then I check it twice, oh
When it comes to Jackson, the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Even though Jackson was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 2019 and has consistently won games, an echo chamber of naysayers endlessly talks about whether he’s good enough to play quarterback. One even wondered aloud in December if he was “quarterbacky” enough.
All Jackson has done is put up the best passing numbers of his career while maintaining his elite elusiveness as a scrambler. He’s also stepped up his role as a leader of the team. MVP No. 2 should be on the way, a little crow for all the haters on the list to eat.
Kyle Hamilton - ‘Mastermind’
What if I told you none of it was accidental?/And the first night that you saw me/Nothing was gonna stop me/I laid the groundwork, and then/Just like clockwork/The dominoes cascaded in a line/What if I told you I’m a mastermind?
A second-year safety out of Notre Dame, Hamilton can do it all. He’s elite in coverage. He can blitz. He’s great in the run game. Play him deep, move him up to the line, it doesn’t matter. Hamilton earned first-team All-Pro honors after he became the first Raven in over two decades to record double-digit tackles for loss (10) and passes defensed (13) in a single season. He’s the skeleton key in the NFL’s best defense.
Off the field, he’s just as versatile. Baseball. Poker. Reciting the first few dozen digits of pi, normal genius stuff like that. What if Kyle Hamilton told you he’s a mastermind? We’d believe it.
Justin Madubuike - ‘Stay Stay Stay’
That’s when you came in wearing a football helmet/And said, “Okay, let’s talk”/And I said/Stay, stay, stay
Above is a rough approximation of the conversation executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta will have to have with his star defensive lineman who’s set to hit free agency.
In his fourth year, Madubuike has blossomed into a stalwart on the defensive front, racking up 13 of the Ravens’ league-leading 60 sacks. Growing up in Dallas, he was on the track team at McKinney North High School, showing off his power in the shot put and speed as a sprinter.
“He’s shredded,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “Have you ever seen the guy with his shirt off? The guy looks like a wild animal. I wish I looked like that.”
Now, Madubuike is a second-team All-Pro, and the Ravens will have to pay dearly to get him to stay in town.
Justin Tucker - ‘Shake It Off’
But I keep cruisin’/Can’t stop, won’t stop groovin’/It’s like I got this music in my mind/Sayin’, “It’s gonna be alright”
Like Swift, Tucker, the last remaining member of the Super Bowl XLVII champion team, was born in 1989.
And as you may have heard, Tucker is something of a singer himself. He counts himself as a fan of Swift’s and told The Banner earlier this year he’s “working toward the label of Swiftie.” Often referred to as the GOAT at his position, Tucker had an uncharacteristically inconsistent start to the season, eventually losing his hold on the record for career field goal percentage.
But he’s been able to shake it off, and ever since Week 14, he can’t stop, won’t stop groovin’, converting all his kicks. The king is back in the top spot on the career percentage leaderboard, too.
Roquan Smith - ‘Hits Different’
Movin’ on was always easy for me to do/It hits different/It hits different ’cause it’s you
The inside linebacker’s intensity is always on display before every game when he delivers fiery pregame speeches to pump up his Ravens teammates.
He’s also a great communicator on the field, calling the plays for coordinator Mike Macdonald and directing players to make adjustments to their opponents’ presnap motions.
The ferocity returns when the ball is snapped and he crashes on ball carriers or receivers coming over the middle. On the season, Smith had a team-high 158 combined tackles, earning first-team All-Pro honors for the second consecutive season. Opposing running backs and receivers probably haven’t moved on from a lot of them.
Odell Beckham Jr. - ‘Come Back … Be Here’
And this is when the feeling sinks in/I don’t wanna miss you like this/Come back, be here/Come back, be here
Many still remember the scene from Super Bowl Bowl LVI, as Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. went down to the turf clutching his knee. It was an ACL tear, the second one on his left knee.
One of the game’s marquee megastars, the kind who gets A-list celebrities to attend his birthday party, sat out the 2022 season and traveled around the world to rebuild his knee.
In the spring he signed with the Ravens, a team in desperate need of weapons to surround Jackson, who was then without an extension.
The NFL missed having one of its biggest names on the field. And Beckham missed football.
“Odell has been through so much, and he’s worked so hard, and it hasn’t been easy,” Harbaugh said. “There is a lot of pain involved there over the course of the last two years, and even throughout the course of the season, in terms of working through the different challenges. He’s at his best right now.”
Baltimore Banner reporter Danielle Allentuck and photographer Kylie Cooper contributed to this article by directing this elder-millennial editor to many of the references contained in this article.