Let’s Celebrate Taylor and Travis, Not Snipe at Them

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Since this is the off weekend before Super Bowl LVIII (58 in English), it seems a perfect time to weigh in on the Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce romance that has dominated sports news for months. For the 12 people in America who are unaware, Taylor Swift — the dominant figure in popular music — and Travis Kelce — the superb tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, who are heading to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in six years, are an item. Sightings of her in a luxury box with Kelce’s mom, Patrick Mahomes’ wife and others, spike television ratings to atmospheric heights.

Unsurprisingly, this has sparked a spate of snarky comments — folks saying they are tired of hearing about the Swift/Kelce romance, tired of seeing clips of her cheering in the luxury box, tired of seeing images of them kissing after upsetting the Baltimore Ravens, a team that struck me as being rather thuggish and deserving to lose.

To which I say: Quit being a jerk. Nobody is requiring you to watch or read about it.

Over the past several months, I have been listening to Swift’s music on occasion, usually while on a road trip. Frankly, I think she is a pop music genius. She also appears to be a truly joyous person. I enjoy seeing her cheer on the Chiefs up in that luxury box. It certainly beats watching the news these days.

An NPR story that aired the day after the Chiefs-Ravens game said the Swift-Kelsey romance has added $330 million to the value of the team and the NFL. Attendance is up, viewership is skyrocketing, and the NFL is selling tons of Chiefs merch. My Beautiful Mystery Companion has become an avid Chiefs fan. Daughter Abbie gave her a “Go, Taylor’s Boyfriend” sweatshirt for Christmas, which she has worn faithfully for each playoff game. So far, it’s working.

One of the looniest elements of the Swift-Kelce romance, which really took off after the Chiefs-Ravens game, is the MAGA trope that the relationship was manufactured by so-called “elites” to help Biden get re-elected. One conspiracy theorist with a large audience of the easily gulled claims Swift is going to come out at halftime and endorse Biden with Kelce by her side. I doubt Usher, the musical act for the Super Bowl, would stand for that.


An arcane skill I still possess is the ability to write Roman numerals, which these days only comes in handy in discerning which Super Bowl comes up next. It used to prove useful for reading movie credits to figure out when a film was made, since the year was usually set in Roman numbers. Google rendered that skill unnecessary. Now I can just go, “Hey, Siri! Who played in Super Bowl XV?” Or, “Hey, Siri! What year was the original True Grit filmed?”

I am fairly certain I have seen at least part of every Super Bowl since the first one, held on Jan. 15, 1967, between the Green Bay Packers and the Chiefs. Led by quarterback Bart Starr and coached by the legendary Vince Lombardi, the Packers cruised to a 35-10 win. I was 11 years old and watched it on my parents’ snowy black-and-white television.


For much of the first two decades of this century, the New England Patriots were the dominant team, under Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots were my home team growing up, when they were the Boston Patriots and our family lived 60 miles north of that city in Allenstown, N.H. My godparents’ son was a physician and for a time served as the team physician. He scored me autographed photos of some of the team members, long since lost. This was before the two leagues merged, leading to that first Super Bowl. The Patriots of that era featured Babe Parilli at quarterback and Gino Cappelletti as his star wide receiver.

Now Brady has retired, Belichick was cut loose after a miserable season, and I will be rooting for the Chiefs on Super Bowl Sunday. Call me a fair-weather fan if you like. I am looking forward to the game, seeing Swift in the luxury box if she makes it back from a Tokyo concert in time.

As my BMC noted, Taylor and Travis are bringing joy to lots of folks in a time when the world can seem awfully dark.

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