Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Why Taylor Swift Isn’t “The Man” when it comes to the NFL

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ASU chapter.

This past Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs faced off for the AFC Championship game, a deciding game on who will go to the Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. But as fans across the nation gathered to watch the showdown, some commentators were more focused on a certain pop star, rather than the players on the field. 

Taylor Swift the global pop superstar has become a frequent fan in the stands to support her boyfriend, Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Chiefs. As I tuned in to watch this important game, I was more confused and angry with the stream of comments next to the game, rather than what was actually happening.

Comment from @kammington: “I HATE TAYLOR SWIFT.”

For some perspective, it was 2 minutes into the first quarter, and no camera had cut to Swift in the stands. I thought about typing a response but then pounded the backspace button, terrified of what the commentators would say about me in return.

Avid Buffalo Bills fan, Will Bennett, explained why he doesn’t like seeing Swift on the screen when he’s watching the game. 

“Whenever you search up your team when they are playing the Chiefs, the first article will be Taylor Swift at the game,” Bennet says. “And five more articles similar to it.”

He goes on to explain that you either love the Chiefs or you hate them, so when the Chiefs get extra screen time due to Swift or any of the other players’ wives and girlfriends, it just makes them annoyed. (I don’t understand it either; football stuff, I guess).

To better clarify this point, I spoke with Dr. Mako Ward, a professor of women and gender studies at Arizona State University.

Dr. Ward explains that because the stereotypical fan of football is an older white male, Taylor Swift essentially is the opposite of everything that they stand for. 

“She represents an entire group of young women that this group of older males are trying to control,” Dr. Mako says. “She has been very vocal about her political beliefs… So, for them to see her be embraced by the NFL, that has to ruffle their feathers.”

Coming from a family of football fans and growing up watching football with my mother, I couldn’t see the outside perspective: The NFL is a man’s space, and for a woman to be shown so often during a game, Taylor Swift is invading “their” space. And men don’t like that.

Dr. Mako explains that unless the woman on the screen interrupting football is an oversexualized image of a woman, such as a cheerleader or someone flirtily drinking a beer, men won’t have it.

What would this situation be in alternate worlds? women hating on Ryan Reynolds for supporting his wife, Blake Lively? 

“It’s hard to fathom switching this narrative,” Dr. Mako says. “Taylor is on a whole other level.” 

Colin Cowherd, a big-time football commentator, put it simply: “The average time Taylor was on screen is 25 seconds in three and a half hours.… Drake on a basketball game, that’s cool. But a beautiful and talented young woman? It bothers them.”

The way I see it is if these people cared so much about football, they should be happy that Taylor Swift has lifted NFL views, bringing in millions of new viewers and lovers of the game.

My name is Emma Paterson, a journalist and student at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. I grew up on a small island in Rhode Island where I learned the importance of community as well as the need for local news to be provided to all. As I grew up, I was an avid watcher of the news. I have videos on a camcorder from the early 2000's of me behind my couch, pretending to be a news reporter. Throughout my youth, I lived in Amsterdam as well as Mallorca, a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean. While traveling, I saw a number of different mediums of news with varying languages, coverage and audiences. Along with this passion of news came my passion for writing. Once I learned how to write, I didn't stop. I created short stories as gifts to my parents and teachers, I was excited when essays were assigned to me and was always helping my peers with editing their own work. I realized choosing Journalism as my major was a no brainer, it combined everything that I loved and was passionate about. I packed up my bags and moved across the country to Phoenix, Arizona and have never looked back! Since my time in college, I was able to work in my hometown's local newspaper, Newport This Week, as an editorial intern. I reported on a number of local events, helped format and create calendars and the paper all together. I reported and had a media pass for the iconic Newport Folk Fest. Tied with my classes, I've been able to create new connections across the Southwest, getting published in Arizona Yacht Club's blog, as well as Phoenix Magazine, where my current internship is. As senior year looms, I feel more prepared than ever for the outside world. I am currently planning on working in Cronkite's satellite office in Washington, D.C. in Spring 2025 as well as holding more internships up until that point. Post-grad, I hope to cover world affairs, politics or music.