Four teams are playing for a trip to Super Bowl LVIII this weekend, and that means conspiracy theories around the NFL’s title game have reached a fever pitch.
The AFC Championship Game will be officiated by referee Shawn Smith’s crew, whom betting analyst Warren Sharp claims has an “overwhelming tendency to favor the road team.” The numbers appear to back that statement up: Home teams have won 40.8% of games—the lowest rate in the NFL under a specific referee—in the last three years with Smith as referee. During that same period, home teams across the league have won 55.4% of the time. Of course, any perceived advantage for the Kansas City Chiefs on the road against the Baltimore Ravens fits nicely into the idea that the NFL would benefit from Taylor Swift attending the Super Bowl, which likely wouldn’t happen without Travis Kelce on the field. However, another conspiracy theory goes against the Chiefs favoritism.
Some fans are claiming that the Super Bowl LVIII logo—which is primarily red and purple—is a sign that the Feb. 11 matchup has been predetermined to feature San Francisco and Baltimore, who would fit the color scheme. (The previous two Super Bowls also featured colors similar to both participants.)
The Power of 34
Finally, there’s undeniably something crazy about the Harbaughs and the number 34:
- 2002: Jack Harbaugh’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers won their first I-AA championship, defeating the McNeese State Cowboys 34−14.
- 2013: John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens beat the Jim Harbaugh-led San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII.
- 2024: Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies 34-13 to win the College Football Playoff national championship game.
Check out this TikTok explaining even more of the wild connections. For now, will John Harbaugh’s Ravens score 34 points again, on their way to another NFL title?