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STRAP ON YOUR TIN FOOTBALL HELMETS FOLKS

We’ve all been hearing conspiracy theories surrounding this weekend’s Conference Championships leading up to the Big Game on February 11. From logo colors to the network’s most favorable viewership outcome ($$) to handpicked referees. So, does the NFL have a script? Let’s break down the rumors.
 

1. The NFL Paints Its Happy Little Winners in the Logo

Roger Goodell as Bob Ross
The NFL creates and releases the Big Game’s logo well in advance of the playoffs. But somehow, the past three logos have incorporated colors of the final two teams’ jerseys. This is either 1) merely a strange coincidence, 2) the NFL choosing the colors based on the two best projected teams, or 3) the whole thing is calculated - they have every game mapped out from the start, directing pawns along the way to make their desired outcome happen. To go even further, people have pointed out that the color taking up the least amount of space in the logo is the color of the team who wins. For example, in 2022, when the Bengals took on the Rams, the Rams won with yellow as the secondary color in the logo, and so forth. If this is true, that would mean this year it’s the 49ers vs. Ravens, with the 49ers taking it all as there’s an accent of red and gold.
Super Bowl Logos
Image credit: https://1000logos.net/super-bowl-logo/ 

As for next year’s logo, it’s purple and bright green. At first glance the color is a nod to the city of New Orleans - but does it mean we will see the Ravens vs. Seahawks in 2025?

 

2. NFL is All About the Benjamins

Well, this isn’t a theory. It’s a fact. But even if the NFL plans out playoff champs from the very beginning, they can’t predict future trends, how fans will react to player stories along the way, or what influence the media will have by the end of the season. That being said, this season the Lions have proven to be a much-loved team and story. Eyes are on the city of Detroit more than ever with the possibility of the Lombardi Trophy in reach. BetOnline analyzed geotagged data and Twitter (sorry, “X”) hashtags showing that 37 states were rooting to see the Lions go all the way. A poll conducted through SB Nation showed 47% of their platform wanting the Lions to win, and 33% of people agreed the Chiefs vs. Lions matchup would be “most fun”. The 49ers last appeared in 2019 facing the Chiefs, so there isn’t as much of a beloved underdog story there. They are one of the best teams in the league, of course, but for viewership purposes it may not be as interesting to non-fans. As for the AFC, Chiefs viewership skyrocketed once Swift started showing up to games. Did the NFL have insider information early on about Kelce and Swift? Maybe. But I don’t think they could’ve predicted the magnitude of it all. The Ravens do have John Harbaugh so there’s an interesting Jim/John success story behind them, but it won’t lead to the buzz Swift’s fans would create. So here’s where it gets interesting. If the logo theory above is true and the original intent was Ravens vs. 49ers, does the NFL now pivot and lean into the opportunity for highest possible viewership? That’s where #3 comes in…

 

3. NFL Chooses Specific Ref to Chiefs' Advantage

 Shawn Smith ref
Image credit: https://www.sportsgamblingpodcast.com/2023/11/16/nfl-week-11-referee-report-betting-stats-and-trends/

Shawn Smith was chosen to ref his first playoff championship at Ravens vs. Chiefs this weekend. Warren Sharp, a NFL analyst, has pointed out the alarming stats concerning this. With Smith, home win rates drop from 55.9% to 40.8%. Home teams cover the spread 50.1% of the time, while Smith cover rates drop to 37%. Smith has called false start penalties 34.8% more on the home team, while the NFL average is 4.6% more calls on the road team. Sharp also found home teams were flagged by Smith at a higher rate for unnecessary roughness, roughing the passer, illegal formation and illegal shift penalties. With all the refs that could be appointed to these semi-final games, if there was no financial gain or favoritism considered, you’d think the NFL would choose refs with the most fair records. It seems the NFL is going to do whatever it takes to get the Chiefs to the championship game.

 

4. We're All Living in a Simulation


Maybe the NFL and life in general is… one big script. And we’re all just living in a weird simulation. Fingers crossed that whoever is controlling this damn thing is a Lions fan.

Said and done, these are all just theories. Here’s a new logo (shoutout Microsoft Paint) to predict the outcome of the Conference Championships, with the primary color representing the Chiefs and secondary color representing the Lions for the win. It seems the NFL will do anything to get Taylor Swift in those stands, and with the Lions first ever appearance, this matchup would make for the best viewership. Kansas City Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions 2024, LFG!!!

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You know what's not a conspiracy? The ingredients in KEY Sparkling Water. Made with real fruit, no added sugar, and the right amount of bubbles, you can feel good about what you're putting into your body.

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