Bill Belichick said this about the raging Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift coupling: “Well, I would say that Travis Kelce has had a lot of big catches in his career. This would be the biggest.”
A funny line for some funny business.
One more funny line: “I might’ve set them up,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said as he hurried away from a postgame news conference Sunday.
Look, I don’t know if Reid played matchmaker and I couldn’t care less whether the Kansas City Chiefs tight end and the popular pop icon are actually dating or whether they are simply pulling everyone’s leg. To quote an old lyric from David Gates, “It don’t matter to me.”
But, apparently, it matters to a whole lot of other people.
When Swift showed up at Arrowhead Stadium for Sunday’s Chiefs-Bears game, sitting in a suite alongside Kelce’s mom, cheering her head off for Kelce and Kansas City, you would have thought by the reaction on social media and highlight shows that the meaning of life had been discovered and revealed. The reaction was like a cache of heated nitroglycerine igniting in the afternoon sun: explosive.
Yes, the Chiefs won in a landslide. Yes, the Chiefs are 2-1, having won two straight, and yes, Patrick Mahomes is looking like what he is — the best, most interesting, most compelling quarterback in the NFL. But no, apparently that mattered far less than what was happening up in the suite and down on the field with No. 87. That was the league’s biggest story — by far.
And even though I’ve labored in sports media for a thousand years now and get how it all works, this sort of thing still amazes me. Kelce and Swift walking postgame out together, climbing into a convertible, in plain sight of anyone who wanted to look and most certainly for anyone with a camera in hand, making headlines as they drove away.
The backstory on all of this you probably already know: Kelce’s a big fan of Swift, having attended her concert at Arrowhead and suggesting she come watch him perform at the same venue, rumors blowing up about the football player and the pop player finding a connection, Swift jokingly breaking down Kelce’s game, and then, boom, there she is on Sunday, blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.
Maybe you, the red-blooded football fan, don’t give a rat’s rear end about any of this. Maybe you suspect, like a whole lof of other folks, that this “relationship” is about as real as a Donald Trump cry of innocence. Maybe you suspect this is more a publicity stunt put on by two people who need more publicity the way the Sahara needs more sand than it is the budding of authentic love.
I’m not sure about any of that.
What I am certain of is that millions of people in this world must be bored out of their minds, bored enough with their own lives to be so eager to jump all over this match to see what it is and where it might be going.
The amusing thing about it is this: It has no real effect on anyone else’s life. It has no actual meaning outside of the personal and financial interests of the power couple, if that’s what Swift and Kelce are. It could have an adverse effect, perhaps, on the Chiefs if Kelce falls so deep into some sort of love funk that he no longer can concentrate on catching passes or making plays, I guess. But that’s a stretch beyond anyone’s rather elastic imagination.
For her part, Swift looks to be just having fun. After selling more tickets to her concerts in recent months than a Led Zeppelin reunion tour would stir, she can pretty much do whatever she wants without it having any adverse effect on her popularity. She’s quite the musical talent who puts on a fantastic show, from what I’ve heard. Although I absolutely and completely reject the notion put forth by a young colleague of mine recently who insisted that Swift is bigger and better than the Beatles ever were. One word on that idea: nonsense.
Sensations sweeping the planet back then were significant, as evidenced by the influence the Beatles still have on music today, much more so than whatever this Swift-Kelce thing is.
It’s stunning, remarkable that this kind of commotion can be caused by a tight end and a singer. Yeah, I know, despite my amazement and any perceived protestation here, I’m caving in to it, too, by writing about what is of little real consequence.
I couldn’t help it, couldn’t hold back. As I was trying to take in what does matter — NFL games— on Sunday, what I and every other football fan in America got was … well, you know what.
The potentially aggravating thing about it is that this story has the potential to live on and on, to get bigger and bigger, until it invades and takes over all the space we have in our lives for the NFL. If that actually happens, if Taylor Swift eclipses the biggest of all our country’s professional sports leagues, I might have to give in just a bit to my colleague’s assertion that the singer really is bigger than the Fab Four.
But … nah, upon further review, for those of us who lived through Beatlemania, John, Paul, George and Ringo did more than eclipse the NFL, they conquered the world.