Few athletes or entertainers boast a reputation quite like the pop culture icon Taylor Swift. That's why, to anyone paying attention, it is no surprise that Swift has taken the NFL world by storm.
In February, Swift returned to the performing stage after a five-year tour hiatus at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, home of the Arizona Cardinals, to a crowd larger than the 2023 Super Bowl's attendance in the stadium just a month before.
But Swift's connection to the NFL this year didn't begin there.
The highly-touted Eras Tour that seemingly catapulted Swift into another orbit of superstardom saw the pop star headline 17 shows in NFL stadiums, breaking the single-day attendance record for the Seattle Seahawks' Lumen Stadium and the Tennesee Titans' Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
Swift also broke the three-day attendance record for the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Among the list of stadium shows on the Eras Tour, she recently revisited one of them for a different reason: Kansas City's infamous Arrowhead Stadium.
Swift appeared in a suite at Arrowhead for the Chiefs-Bears game this past Sunday with the mother of one of the most charismatic players in the NFL, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, sending shockwaves through the sports world after rumors of the two being an item.
Kelce, born in 1989, plays with a fearless edge that has earned him a reputation, much like Swift, as one of their profession's all-time greats. Thrusting Swift further into football lore, Kelce's brother, six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Jason Kelce, is a starter on the Philadelphia Eagles, Swift's favorite team.
For football fans to better understand Swifties and Swift's crazed star power, you must journey to a time before she was a multi-nominated Grammy artist and released her acclaimed self-titled album "Taylor Swift."
Swift entered the music industry as a country sensation, delivering romantic jams like "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Tim McGraw" on her debut album. Still, " Fearless" turned the country singer, who began making music at 14 years old, into a pop star.
The third single on "Fearless," "You Belong With Me," peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and earned nominations for Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year at the 2010 Grammy Awards. In the music video, Swift watches her love interest catch a game-winning touchdown like Kelce did last season when he caught a touchdown pass to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime.
By the time Swift dropped her third studio album, "Speak Now," she had earned a name for herself as one of the top artists in the industry. But Swift began to truly flex her songwriting ability with hits like "Enchanted" and "Mine," elevating herself into one of the premier songwriters in music.
Swift described the intensities of her love life as "Red," producing her fourth studio album, with songs including "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble," which have the energy of an onside kick recovery down one possession. The album paved the way for her love life to take center stage in her musical career.
Swift's music catalog began to heavily feature her "long list of ex-lovers."
"So it's going to be forever, or it's going to go down in flames," Swift sings on her album "1989," facing her whirlwind love life head-on in her hit single "Blank Space," released in 2014, which felt like Taylor was playing a revenge game against a team who cut her.
By the time Swift released "Reputation" in 2017, Swift's confidence had allowed her to own the narrative and evolve her sound like Josh Allen's evolution from his rookie year to where he is now. Reputation featured some of Swift's most significant collaborations, releasing tracks with Ed Sheeran and Future.
After "Reputation's" release and the subsequent stadium tour, Swift crossed genres again and ventured into a more indie sound with her album "Folklore." "Folklore" was released in July 2020, during the height of the pandemic. The new album earned her yet another Grammy and reached the top of the Billboard charts, which garnered her the support of an even bigger fanbase. The album blew up on TikTok, with Swifties adoring new singles like "Betty," "August" and "Cardigan" and the love triangle between the fictional characters.
The album's sound shifted like Russell Wilson's career, moving from a mobile improviser to a stable pocket passer.
Swift continued her trek into folk with the release of "Evermore," released in January 2021. Fans can recognize a similar vibe to the album as "Folklore," and included hits such as "Willow" and "Champagne Problems," which Kelce himself had last February.
Fast forward to Swift's most recent release this year, "Midnights." Swift is now a 33-year-old adult singing lyrics of accountability on her hit single "Anti-hero," similar to late-career Tom Brady. Swift announced the Eras Tour just a few weeks after Midnights was released on Oct. 21, 2022.
The Eras tour has been in the media spotlight throughout 2023, with Swift just finishing the American leg of her tour. The tour could gross up to 2.2 billion dollars in ticket sales in the North American leg alone, and Swift is yet to perform in Europe. This would make the Eras tour the highest-grossing tour in history, with Elton John's "Farewell Yellow Brick Road" previously holding the title.
Much like the system was shocked when Swift's presale began on Ticketmaster, Swift now has her fingerprints all over the boost in excitement and viewership for the NFL. The Chiefs-Bears game saw a significant viewership rise, specifically among young women. Kelce's jersey sales also skyrocketed by nearly 400% since the game.
It remains to be seen if Kelce and Swift will stay intertwined and the center of America's attention, as for now, Swifties have entered their NFL era.
Edited by Shane Brennan, Walker Smith and Caera Learmonth.