NFL fans really need to calm down about Taylor Swift.
The world’s biggest sporting game got even bigger when the Kansas City Chiefs booked their place in the Super Bowl on Monday.
They’ll take on the San Francisco 49ers in Las Vegas on Monday February 12 Australian time as quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce try to win a third championship ring.
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It appears the fortnight between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl will be dominated by discussion around Swift, who is expected to make a mad dash on her private jet from a show in Tokyo to see Kelce in action.
Will she make the Super Bowl in time? Will Kelce and the Chiefs win another Super Bowl? How many cutaway shots will there be of the pop star in the crowd?
Swift has attended 12 Kansas City games this season in support of Kelce, rubbing shoulders with his parents and the partners of other Chiefs players.
The 34-year-old has been credited with skyrocketing merchandise sales and increased interest in the NFL among a non-traditional football audience.
But the cutaway shots of Swift in the crowd, and the Swag Surfin dance adopted by the Chiefs have rankled many football fans.
After a Baltimore Ravens fan yelled “you’ve ruined the NFL” at Swift, she replied: “I didn’t do anything.”
US commentators have roundly slammed criticism of Swift, pointing out that she only appeared in 44 seconds of the Chiefs-Ravens TV broadcast, which lasted more than three hours.
American sports personality Colin Cowherd called out “insecure men” in a blistering rant on his show The Herd.
“There’s a lot of really weird, lonely, insecure men out there,” Cowherd said.
“The fact that the world’s biggest pop star is dating a star tight end who had one of his greatest games ever, and a network puts them on the air briefly and it bothers you.
“What does that say about your life? Judge people sometimes on the silly stuff that bothers them, it’ll tell you a lot about them.”
“When I hear this whole thing about Taylor Swift, ‘I just want to watch football’ — liar.
“It’s not true. A football telecast is not just football. In fact, the commercials for four hours before the Super Bowl, they are widely watched.
“Coaches cutaways, they show fans in Buffalo on fire, commercials reviews — 18 minutes of real football record about the length of five Taylor Swift songs.”
Cowherd also pointed out there are plenty of male pop culture icons who fans have grown accustomed to seeing at football and basketball games over the years.
“Here’s the other thing that strikes me,” he said. “Matthew McConaughey — all right, all right, all right. Drake on everything. Spike Lee (at New York) Knicks, games. Eminem (at) Michigan sporting events — celebrated.
“(In the) 80s (and) 90s Jack Nicholson (being at) Lakers games was cool. ‘We saw Jack!’
“But a talented and beautiful woman on the air. One who would never pay attention to lonely men — bothers them.
“Again, judge people by the silly things that bother them. This has nothing — this anger — says nothing about Taylor Swift. It says everything about the men bothered by it.”
Actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg echoed that sentiment on her talk show The View, arguing the outrage directed towards Swift was completely unjustified.
“What are you so pissed about?” Goldberg said.
“Why are you so mad? There is so, so many things to be angry at in this world. Why are these men toxically masculine?”
Co-host Sara Haines said: “Here comes Taylor Swift. She has more money; therefore, more power. She’s more famous, and she’s coming in to see her boyfriend in his home.”
Joy Behar added: “These guys need some therapy,” Behar said.
“Go get a shrink! I mean, they don’t consider it masculine to be in therapy. It is not about masculine (or) feminine, it is about your brain, and so they need some help, and that’s why I feel sorry for them.”
Sunny Hostin said: “If they show her for 25 seconds enjoying and supporting her partner, I don’t know what’s wrong with that.”
Kelce, 34, told ESPN’s Pat McAfee he and Swift “are just two people in a relationship supporting each other and having fun with it”.
He said: “It’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it?”
“We just have fun with it and we enjoy every single bit of it.
“I love it when Taylor comes and supports me and enjoys the game with the fam and friends. It’s been nothing but a wonderful year.”
“We hear it but we hardly ever talk about it,” Kelce said of the criticism.
“Its nothing to even talk about — nothing to bring up.”
“From having the paparazzi follow me every single day into work to everybody having my name on their talk show every single day whether it’s sports whether it’s not sports,” he explained.
“You know it’s just been a crazy, crazy ride I could have never anticipated.
“But I’m having fun with it — the majority of the world is having fun with it — outside the cranky NFL fans that just don’t want to see the Chiefs win … but we are slowly reeling them in.”
— With Page Six