American Football: Defending champions Kansas City Chiefs return to Super Bowl with victory over Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs have beaten top-seeded Baltimore Ravens 17-10 to claim the AFC championship and earn a trip to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years.

Patrick Mahomes completed 30 passes for 241 yards and one touchdown to Travis Kelce in the first quarter that had popstar girlfriend Taylor Swift jumping up and down in jubilation in a private box at Baltimore's at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Chiefs now head to Las Vegas for the February 12 (NZ time) Super Bowl, where they will defend their crown against either San Francisco 49ers or Detroit Lions, who meet in the NFC championship game.

Patrick Mahomes in action for Kansas City Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes in action for Kansas City Chiefs. Photo credit: Getty Images

No team have won back-to-back NFL titles, since Tom Brady led  New England Patriots to Vince Lombardi trophies in 2004 and 2005.

"It's been a heck of a year, we're not done yet," said Mahomes. "We've been underdogs the last few games, but we never feel like underdogs.

"We've got a lot of guys on this team that know how to win. When the playoffs came around, we were going to make it happen and now we're in the Super Bowl, the job's not done."

The first Super Bowl held at Las Vegas is already expected to be one of the splashiest football-fests ever, but the buzz around America's biggest party is sure to be dialled up a few notches, with Swift and her legion of fans, known as 'Swifties', on board.

The AFC championship was highlighted by a marquee quarterbacking match-up between Mahomes - the twice and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player - and Lamar Jackson, who claimed the honour in 2019 and is favoured to add another for his work this season.

Playing in their sixth straight championship game, the Chiefs were quick out of the blocks, as Mahomes hit favourite target Kelce with a 19-yard touchdown strike to cap an 81-yard opening drive.

The Ravens answered right back, needing just six plays to find the endzone, with Jackson pulling off a Houdini-like escape to avoid a sack and find Zay Flowers for a 30-yard touchdown.

The furious early pace continued, with Mahomes engineering a clinical nine-minute drive on Kansas City's next possession that spanned parts of both the first and second quarters, and finished with Isiah Pacheco powering over from the two.

Helped by two personal-foul penalties by Baltimore, the Chiefs were able to add to their lead just before the half on a Harrison Butker 52-yard field goal, sending the visitors in the half up 17-7.

The Ravens and Chiefs finished the regular season with the two top-ranked defences, allowing the fewest points per game, and scores were hard to come by in the second half.

Baltimore's sputtering attack looked ready to come back to life late in the third quarter, when Jackson hit Flowers with a big 54-yard pass play to get into scoring position.

Jackson would look Flowers' way again, but just inches from the goal-line, the receiver fumbled, turning the ball over to Kansas City.

Their next possession, Baltimore again turned the ball over, Jackson intercepted by Chiefs Deon Bush in the endzone.

Baltimore added some suspense, with a Justin Tucker 43-yard field goal trimming the Chiefs lead to 17-10 with 2:34 to play, but could not complete a storybook comeback.