The unexpected face of the NFL: Taylor Swift

Ash Chang | Conant Crier


It is no secret that Taylor Swift has been the most successful artist of 2023, with her Eras Tour becoming the first tour to gross a staggering $1 billion in profits and the artist being named Time magazine’s 2023 “Person of the Year”. Swift has also found herself in the spotlight this year by publicly announcing her relationship with Travis Kelce, a current player for the Kansas City Chiefs. 

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According to Kelce’s interview with the Wall Street Journal magazine (detailed by NME), the football player attempted to get the pop star’s attention by having a mutual friend “play Cupid” in order to put them in touch. Swift eventually reached out to Kelce, and they continued to get closer by attending each other’s public events. 

Kelce talking about Taylor on “New Heights”, a podcast hosted by him and his brother, Jason Kelce, made the Swifties absolutely fall in love with the couple. 

However, it is Swift’s many appearances at Kelce’s football games that have NFL fans irritated with the couple. 

The main reason why NFL fans find Taylor Swift’s presence at games to be frustrating is because she seems to be a distraction, both to the fans trying to watch the sport and to the players on the Chiefs.

On this Reddit thread, a fan accuses Swift’s attendance at the games as being the “worst thing that has happened to NFL coverage.” They go on to explain that major achievements being made by NFL teams are being shadowed by articles about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, which becomes evident when looking through articles posted by regular sports news sites. 

For example, an article published by For The Win (USA Today), titled “Will Taylor Swift be at Chiefs-Chargers in L.A. to cheer on Travis Kelce after dining with Brittany Mahomes?”. Many sports fans tend to look to sports sites to hear about major achievements in sports, but with Swift and Kelce’s new romance, there seems to be a lot more “drama” taking up space on these sites. 

Many fans also accuse Swift as being a distraction to Kelce and the rest of his team, similar to a user in this Reddit thread, who says that the team “hasn’t been the same” since she started attending games, and her relationship with Kelce has become so public. 

Although there are people who disagree in the comments of this post, a general consensus is that one singular person cannot make a difference in the performance of an entire football team. 

This anti-Swift sentiment, however, is clearly shared by many fans. There have been multiple instances since she began making appearances at football games where she has been audibly booed by NFL fans who don’t appreciate her taking up so much of the focus at the game. 

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Both Kelce and Swift have made public responses to this negative response she receives at these games. Kelce used his podcast as a medium to promote fans who have been welcoming Swift at the game (cheering her on, making signs for her) and condemning those fans who have actively shamed her. 

In an interview with People magazine, Swift explained that she has no control over when the cameras are directed at her, and her only intention is to show up and be supportive of her partner. The two also used the phrase “Brads, dads, and Chads” when referring to the people who had been offended by Swift’s presence, which only shows that they are not bothered in the slightest by the pushback they have received. 

The most recent major incident regarding Swift and her connection to the NFL happened at the Golden Globes, a major media award show which occurred on January 7th of 2024, where host Joy Koy made this joke to Swift, “The big difference between the Golden Globes and the NFL? On the Golden Globes, we have fewer shots of Taylor Swift!” The camera notably pans to her face, which People magazine describes as a “neutral” expression, while others describe it as “cold” and her demeanor as “lacking a sense of humor”. 

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For now, it seems as though there is a sharp contrast between fans of Swift, who enjoy seeing her at Kelce’s games and even go out of their way to attend games to attempt to see her, and fans of the NFL who only want to focus on football and dislike all of the attention Swift has been drawing from the game.

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