The NFL might be “overdoing it,” but the breathless attention on pop superstar Taylor Swift amid her rumored romance with Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce shows no sign of abating.
Chatting with his brother Jason, the Philadelphia Eagles center, on their “New Heights” podcast, Travis said Wednesday that broadcaster NBC’s 17 cutaway shots to Swift and a few of her famous friends during the Chiefs’ victory over the New York Jets on Sunday was probably too many.
“I think it’s fun when they show who all is at the game, you know?” Travis Kelce said. “I think it brings a little more to the atmosphere, brings a little bit more to what you’re watching.
“But at the same time …. “
Jason’s opinion was a brisk “They’re overdoing it,” and Travis concurred.
“Especially in my situation,” Travis Kelce said.
Swift, a 12-time Grammy winner with a legion of dedicated fans, collided with the NFL universe when she attended the Chiefs’ home win over the Chicago Bears on September 24, sitting with the Kelce brothers’ mother, Donna, and fueling speculation that she and the star tight end were an item.
The “Lavender Haze” singer was back, along with actors Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman, for the Chiefs’ road win at MetLife Stadium outside New York in the coveted Sunday Night Football slot.
Even the White House was caught up in the conjecture, with National Security Council spokesman John Kirby asked at a press briefing what President Joe Biden made of the rumored relationship.
“You know, in the vernacular of the National Security Council, I can neither confirm nor deny those reports,” Kirby said.
Either way, Front Office Sports counted 17 cutaway shots to Swift and friends during NBC’s broadcast of the game — compared to eight cutaways to injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Damn that’s crazy,” Travis Kelce said. “It’s like once a drive.”
Added Jason: “I mean, that’s more than Jack Nicholson courtside for the Lakers.”
In fact, Jason Kelce said the NFL could perhaps learn from how the NBA showcases its celebrity fans.
“Like basketball has it all figured out,” he said. “They’re all courtside, they’re sitting there. They show ’em once or twice, but then they get back to the game.
“NFL’s like, ‘Look at all these A-list celebrities at the game! Keep showing ’em, show ’em!'”
Pop cultural moment
The NFL, however, made no apologies for “leaning in” to the tidal wave of interest surrounding Kelce and Swift on social media and beyond.
“We frequently change our bios and profile imagery based on what’s happening in and around our games, as well as culturally,” the league said in a statement to People magazine.
“The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we’ve leaned into in real time, as it’s an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport.”
The NFL and NBC also saw another huge boost to viewership, with Sunday’s game drawing 27 million viewers, more than any for a Sunday night contest since the Super Bowl in February.
According to the Nielsen data and analytics firm, that figure included a 53% surge among teenage girls.
Swift’s weekends won’t be free all season. She’s taking a break from her wildly popular international tour, but performances will resume in November.
The reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs visit the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
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