A guide to the Super Bowl, in Taylor Swift lyrics

This year’s Super Bowl viewership can be neatly divided into four segments: Those who like football and Taylor Swift, those who only like football, those who only like Taylor Swift, and those who like neither but are, for whatever reason, watching anyway.

For all the Swifties who are choosing to care about the Super Bowl for the first time — and all the football fans who need a crash course in Taylor Swift — here is a look at Sunday’s game as seen through Swift’s lyrics. So, as Swift herself says in “…Ready For It?,” baby, let the games begin.

First of all, there’s definitely some bad blood between Sunday’s teams, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. The two rivals faced each other in Super Bowl LIV in 2020, when the Chiefs dealt the 49ers a devastating loss, 31-20, giving Kansas City its first Super Bowl victory since 1970.

The game was a close one until the fourth quarter, when the Chiefs went on to score 21 points (three touchdowns) in an exhilarating finish, breaking the hearts of San Francisco fans in the process.

Given that history, it’s understandable that fans of the Niners — and the players themselves — might be out for revenge, ready to take what was taken from them.

The 49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy, didn’t play that game in 2020, but he is out to prove himself. Two years ago he was Mr. Irrelevant, the very last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He began his pro career as the Niners’ third-string quarterback. Now, after a surprising MVP-level season, he’s trying to take his team all the way.

Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers looks to make a pass during a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. - Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Actually, there will be a lot of red happening. The Chiefs famously wear red and gold. So do the 49ers.

One might say that the 49ers red is a tad darker, more maroon. Thankfully, though both teams’ home colors are nearly identical, the 49ers will wear their white away jerseys, as the Chiefs have been designated as the home team for the game. (The game will be played in Las Vegas, but the two NFL conferences, the NFC and the AFC, switch off every year on which team will be home and away.)

Trouble, as in Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who made an immediate impact in his first season as an NFL starter and at 28 is already chasing his third Super Bowl title.

Fans and analysts alike have already begun comparing Mahomes to Tom Brady, who has seven Super Bowl rings to his name. Mahomes, to his credit, claims he isn’t thinking about that, saying he’s focused on “doing whatever I can to beat a great 49ers team.”

Of course we’re also going to see a lot of Chiefs tight end and Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce, also known on Instagram as “Killa Trav.”

Speaking of Swift, the singer has been spotted at Chiefs games all season — almost literally “on the bleachers” as in “You Belong With Me.” Although, let’s be honest, she’s really in an expensive box suite alongside a group of celebrity friends.

Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after a catch against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game on January 28, 2024, in Baltimore, Maryland. - Patrick Smith/Getty Images

While Swift and Kelce seem like a nice couple, they’re very successful apart, too. Swift is arguably the biggest star in music, fresh off winning the coveted Album of the Year award at the Grammys and announcing a surprise album, due in April.

Once the game begins, it’s going to be a no-holds-barred fight. The 49ers have one of the best offenses in the NFL, led by running back Christian McCaffrey, who currently leads the league at his position. The Chiefs, on the other hand, have one of the top defenses, but they don’t always perform well against running backs.

Keep your eyes open, Swifties. This matchup could get interesting.

One of the most dramatic parts of the game is when someone lands a hard tackle, but particularly when the quarterback gets sacked by an opposing player and the two fall over, much like a house of cards.

Both the Chiefs and the 49ers have strong defensive lines, but the 49ers have Trent Williams, considered one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL and an expert at protecting his quarterback. Keep an eye on whether Williams and the rest of the offensive line can keep Purdy from being sacked.

There’s always the chance that a whole play is called back — i.e., doesn’t count — because a referee has thrown a penalty flag. And then everyone who is watching begins arguing about whether it was actually a foul.

It’s not just penalties that fans get worked up about. When a player breaks off a long run or makes a big catch, everyone is on the edge of their seat, cheering — or jeering.

Hardcore football fans can get pretty animated — especially about a marquee matchup like the Super Bowl. These championship rings are coveted, and the winning players go down in history. Win or lose, fans of the two teams will likely remember this day for their rest of lives — even if it was a game they’d rather forget.

As Swift says in her song “Blank Space,” “You know I love the players / and you love the game.”

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