Dear NFL Pundits, Taylor Swift Is Just Fine for Football

Dear NFL Pundits, Taylor Swift Is Just Fine for Football January 26, 2024

A heart-shaped football links Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce slogans
Canva/Adobe Stock

I’m not going to get into who said exactly what, but there have been those among NFL analysts and reporters who have whined recently about TV showing singer Taylor Swift cheering on tight-end boyfriend Travis Kelce during Kansas City Chiefs football games.

It distracts from the game, they say. It’s injecting celebrity into football. It’s a blatant attempt to appeal to young women.

Uh … so?

And I say that as someone who is neither a fan of Swift nor the Chiefs.

As to the complaints, let’s take these one at a time, shall we?

Taylor Swift Distracts From the Game

Commercials don’t? Promos for TV shows and movie trailers don’t? Endlessly yapping commentators don’t? Cutting to the crowd to show people with painted faces, bare chests, wild costumes, and marriage proposals don’t?

Give me a break.

An NFL game is not ever just a game. It’s an event, a happening, a party. How many people do you think watch the All-22 replays, the ones the teams use to analyze plays? That’s pure football. It’s also boring as heck to the average fan.

The NFL has survived every kind of distraction TV could throw at it, and it’s doing just fine.

Taylor Swift Is Injecting Celebrity Into Football

I give you Super Bowl XXIII, from

Take the 1989 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals. The San Francisco 49ers were down by three points with 3:20 left when Montana spotted — no, not an open receiver — but a personality. “There, in the stands, standing near the exit ramp,” Montana said to tackle Harris Barton. “Isn’t that John Candy?” And then he led the 49ers 92 yards, throwing for the winning touchdown with 34 seconds left.

This was one of Montana’s 31 fourth-quarters comeback in the NFL.

Heavens, was there a celebrity at a football game — let alone THE GAME — whose presence was noticed by someone actually on the field? And celebs weren’t utterly banned after that?

Yeah. Not so much.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, is there anything else in the world that’s a bigger draw for celebrities and other well-heeled folks? How many ordinary fans do you think are actually going to wind up in the stands in Las Vegas on Feb. 11?

Football is sport, but it’s also showbiz.

The NFL Is Using Taylor Swift to Attract Young Women

And, what’s wrong with that? As a woman who began watching football as a young girl — despite living with three brothers and a father who couldn’t care less about the game — I’ve never regretted being a football fan.

Not only does the game feature talented, athletic young men in flattering uniforms performing amazing feats of physical prowess, like any other sport, it’s also an endless well of human-interest stories.

Myself and every female fan I know is acquainted with players’ lives, wives, backgrounds, struggles, etc. We don’t just care about the game, we care about the players.

This isn’t to say that women fans don’t care about Xs and Os, we do — and some female fans only care about that, and more power to them — but I’m also here for all the stories. And I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Now, Taylor Swift could date Travis Kelce and never attend a game. She could be disinterested or disdainful, but she’s not.

Instead, she shows up and throws herself into the moment. She yells and screams, jumps up and down, hugs everybody. In short, she acts like both a supportive girlfriend and a real football fan.

Seeing her, maybe a lot of women and girls who have ignored football will become interested. Maybe others who’ve kept their ardent fandom in check will feel free to let their football-freak flag fly.

Swift has also injected a bit of fashion into the game, sporting a custom-made jacket created by Kristin Juszczyk, the wife of a 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk. I want a Seahawks version!

And There Are Those Who Say Trav & Tay Is Just a Stunt

I don’t think so, but I don’t know — and neither does anyone else who doesn’t know the two of them personally.

But, in terms of a reasonable partnership, it makes sense. Swift’s definitely not chasing after Kelce’s fame or money — she has plenty of both of her own. And the reverse is true for him.

Also, they’re hardworking, successful, talented and appear to be close to their families. They could do worse than each other — and probably have.

As public romances go, Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce is one of the more charming and wholesome pairings. In a media world chock full of depravity, abuse and just plain ick, this couple is fun to watch.

So, get over yourselves, haters.

But, Back to Football for a Moment

With the last round of playoffs before the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, you might wonder, what’s my pick for the big game? My pick isn’t in the game, but as long as the 49ers don’t win, it’s all good.

But, if the Chiefs don’t make it, there won’t be any more of Travis’ brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, and that would be a shame.

UPDATE 1/28/2024: With a victory over the upstart Detroit Lions, the Chiefs are off to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, to face off with the San Francisco 49ers — so we have more Taylor and Jason in store. Cue the haters …

UPDATE 02/12/2024: Sorry, not sorry, Niners.

Image: Canva/Adobe Stock

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About Kate O'Hare
Based in Los Angeles, Kate O'Hare is a veteran entertainment journalist, Social Media Content Manager for Family Theater Productions and a rookie screenwriter. You can read more about the author here.
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