If you’re one of those football fans who gets mildly irked at the number of redundant cutaways to Taylor Swift every time the Kansas City Chiefs are playing and Travis Kelce catches an out route for four yards on first down, Sunday may be your lucky day.
For the rest of the media — which have been building up Super Bowl LVIII as the Travis-and-Taylor show — Kelce may have just dropped an anvil on their collective heads.
The assumption, of course, was always that Swift would be there, right? Heaven knows she’s made every game she could, and Super Bowl LVIII — which could potentially give the Chiefs their third championship in six years and their second over 49ers squads coached by Kyle Shanahan — is the biggest game of her boyfriend’s career.
However, Swift has a day job — a much higher-profile day job than Kelce’s, it’s worth noting. She’s in the midst of the Eras Tour, arguably the biggest concert tour event in decades, which doesn’t wrap up until December of this year.
And therein lies the rain on the media parade involving all things Travis and Taylor — since, as the tight end told the media, being an international pop star comes with certain obligations and hurdles in faraway places.
“When asked if Swift — who is performing in Tokyo, Japan, this week as part of the international leg of her Eras Tour — had given Kelce a Super Bowl ‘pep talk,’ the Chiefs tight end offered a curious response,” the New York Post reported.
“She’s just working on entertaining them, making sure she’s ready for her performances and everything, but the Super Bowl, we’ll worry about if she can make it,” he said.
Note the “if.” That’s quite the wrench in the hype machine! She was supposed to be there, dagnabbit! Now what are they going to talk about? Football?
“Swift’s Super Bowl plans have been heavily discussed ever since the Chiefs defeated the Ravens in last month’s AFC Championship game,” the Post noted.
“The pop superstar, who has been dating the All-Pro tight end since the summer, will finish her final Eras Tour show of the week on Saturday in Tokyo, which is 17 hours ahead of Las Vegas.”
Previous reports from the Post indicated that she would take a direct 13-hour flight from Tokyo to Las Vegas, Nevada, where the Super Bowl is being played, arriving in Vegas on 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening, less than 24 hours before game time.
“It’s a brutal flight, but she’ll get on her plane right after the concert,” an insider told the Post’s Page Six gossip section in an article published Jan. 29.
What’s changed since then — if anything — remains a mystery. Then again, why anyone cares so much about two famous people in a relationship with each other remains a mystery, too, but I suppose the intersection between the parasocial relationships people enjoy with football teams and with pop stars makes the coupling exponentially interesting, or whatever.
Pity, then, that Travis seems to indicate her plans to get to Las Vegas in time by air are still, well, up in the air.
Imagine, tens of millions of people who would be tuning in to watch every Swift reaction shot will actually have to watch the game. And the commercials. And the halftime entertainment. And the pre-game entertainment. And … well, you get the idea.
The Super Bowl has long ceased to be just a football game. It’s hard to tell the exact moment that happened. Perhaps Apple’s famous “1984” advertisement introducing the Macintosh during Super Bowl XVIII — generally acknowledged as the first big-budget “Super Bowl ad” made specifically for the game, as opposed to just an ad that happened to air during the Super Bowl — made the contest as much about the commercial breaks as it was about what was happening on the field. Michael Jackson’s halftime performance during Super Bowl XXVII, meanwhile, cemented the role celebrity diversions played in the annual championship game.
Those were all planned, though. The Swift-Kelce relationship, facile though it may seem, was not a trick planned by Super Bowl organizers.
Darned if NFL broadcasters hadn’t milked it for all it was worth during the regular season, though — to the point where Chiefs games became unwatchable for actual fans of the sport, even if they like Kelce and Swift. In fact, full disclosure: I like Swift, and I think Kelce is one of the most exciting players in the NFL. I generally used to enjoy watching Kansas City Chiefs games whenever I could catch them — until, of course, they became cutaway central to Swift in the luxury box. A sample of what the coverage sounded like, at least to my ears:
“Kelce for six on a first down pass. And there’s Taylor whooping it up … Mahomes calls time out, appears he doesn’t like what the defense was showing him. Meanwhile, let’s show you another shot of Taylor Swift, drinking from a cup. Tony, do you think that’s beer she’s drinking?”
“I’m going to go with a margarita, Jim. She usually goes for margaritas on second downs in these situations.”
Given that Tony Romo is almost always wrong, she was probably drinking beer in my imaginary commentary scenario. But I digress.
Imagine, then, if the biggest story of the Super Bowl wasn’t Taylor’s reaction but the fact she couldn’t make it there. Would we just get a cutaway to an empty seat in the luxury box? Would the NFL postpone the game until Swift showed up?
Or — dare I say it — could they just focus on the fact an actual game was being played? It may be a letdown for the media and the Swifties who would otherwise just be watching for the commercials and halftime show. For sports fans, however, it would be like an answered prayer.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.