I’ve been accused of being a cynic for most of my life — especially when it comes to celebrity relationships: I block most famous TikTok couples, and there is still a part of me that believes that Kylie Jenner and Timothée Chalamet are in a fake relationship, regardless of the hard launch. So, it should come as no surprise to you that I’m really not buying the Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce dating rumors. Sorry, not sorry.
Now, before the Swifites go up in arms about this take, I want to reiterate that I love Taylor Swift. So much, in fact, that I’ve kept the little plastic thing in my Eras Tour bracelet so the battery doesn’t die, and I can make the light turn back on whenever I want to feel something again. That being said, I root for Swift constantly and I want her to be happy in her relationships. But more than that, I want her relationships to be, well, real.
While I daylight as a Swiftie, I moonlight as a regular watcher of the NFL. For as long as I can remember, my Mondays, Thursdays, Sundays, and the occasional Saturday have consisted of buffalo chicken dip and yelling at the TV with my friends, family, and boyfriend. I’m also a die-hard Philadelphia Eagles fan — so the Kelce brothers are nothing new (wink) to me.
With the Swift and Kelce dating rumors, I am in the unique position of having a foot in each camp: I follow Swift, and I follow the NFL. At first, I thought this matchup was cute, but after a while, I just can’t get behind it anymore. Call me a cynic, call me a fake fan, or call me whatever you want — I’m not buying it. And I have a few reasons as to why.
- The NFL needs Taylor Swift.
Don’t throw your beer on me, football bros, you know it’s true. After a steep decline during the 2020 season (AKA, the COVID year), the NFL had a major boom in 2021, going from an average of 14.9 million viewers to 17.1 million. However, the 2022 season saw a bit of a decline (16.7 million). According to the NFL, the 2023 season is already at a 2% increase in viewers, just a few weeks into the regular season — averaging 17.5 million viewers across cable and streaming platforms.
By now, the entire world (including my father) has heard about Swift attending the Kansas City Chiefs game on Sept. 24. And if you watched the game, or any NFL game in the past week, the network won’t let you forget about it. Throughout KC’s blowout game against the Chicago Bears, the camera regularly panned to Swift whenever Kelce did, well, anything. Additionally, the commentators regularly referenced Swift throughout the telecast. The result? The games ended in a Chiefs win, and was the most-viewed game of the week at 24.3 million views — with a major uptick in female viewers. It ranked first among women ages 12 to 17, women 18 to 34, and women 18 to 49.
And, ICYMI, the social accounts for ESPN as well as the NFL have been posting about Swift nonstop.
After the game (and those photos of Swift and Kelce cinematically riding off into the sunset), Kelce’s jersey sales skyrocketed to become “one of the top 5 selling NFL players [jersies]” as well as seeing a 400% spike in sales throughout the Fanatics network of sites, including NFLShop.com, according to a statement from Fanatics, obtained by TMZ.
In order to avoid another year of declining viewership, the NFL needed to do some outreach to engage not only women, but Gen Z as well. Whether they’re watching the games or buying licensed apparel, there’s no way to combat that Gen Z is becoming more and more interested in the NFL after Swift’s appearance. You’re all falling for their plan, y’all. The NFL just wants your money (and views).
- The Kelce brothers just released a documentary.
Now, as I mentioned before, I’ve been a die-hard Eagles fan since birth. (I was raised on a(n) (un)healthy hatred for the Dallas Cowboys, and my basement is Eagels-themed.) So, for new fans of the NFL, you’d be interested to know that Kelce’s brother, Jason Kelce, has had a longstanding career with the Philadelphia Eagles. Additionally, his documentary KELCE was released through Prime Video on Sept. 12.
Perhaps Kelce’s rumored romance with Swift is just a way for his team to promote the documentary, as Swifties would be more inclined to learn about her new “boyfriend” and his family. But, as a fan of Jason Kelce, his family, and Philadelphia, I’m not too mad about that. Stream KELCE, y’all.
- Taylor Swift has a policy on name-dropping.
If there’s one thing I love about Swift, it’s how much she respects herself, her personal life, and the people around her. That being said, I always found it refreshing how she wasn’t the type to flaunt her relationships and kept things private with her partners. And, for the most part, especially in recent years, her partners have done the same. (In her song “I Did Something Bad” she literally says, “But if he drops my name, then I owe him nothin’.”)
Now, I’m not here to bash Kelce. I like Kelce. But the times that he’s referenced shooting his shot with Swift, or alluding to their romance, doesn’t seem like something Swift would’ve approved of in the past. Sure, he hasn’t directly name-dropped her since that viral clip from the New Heights podcast, but he definitely hasn’t been shy when it comes to answering questions about their rumored romance.
Or maybe, he’s just proud to be dating her. And she deserves a partner like that — especially if this duo ends up being real. (Skeptical.)
- Let us not forget where Swift’s allegiance lies.
Last, but not least, are we all forgetting that Swift is an Eagles fan?! Hello?! While the Eagles and the Chiefs aren’t a major NFL rivalry, they did play each other in the 2023 Super Bowl — resulting in KC winning the game (after a terrible call, IMHO). However, the Eagles and the Chiefs have been predicted to compete in the Super Bowl again this year. And this may be very tin-hat of me, but with Swift on our side, the Eagles have the capabilities to be unstoppable.
Perhaps Swift is getting involved in KC to throw them off of their game and distract one of their star players, so the Eagles can finally win another Super Bowl. I know it seems improbable, but I’m choosing to believe it, OK? Go Birds.
As a Swiftie myself, I truly hope that his relationship is real — and that she and Kelce go on to start a beautiful family, and she writes songs about how she’s in love with a super hot star athlete. But the fiercely protective, and incredibly skeptical, part of me won’t let me believe that this pairing is endgame. Here’s to hoping that I’m wrong — and that the Eagles win the Super Bowl either way.