Yes, I’m serious.
Before I tell you why, let’s establish a couple of things upfront.
In the interest of transparency, Swift is from my hometown of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. I'm also a big fan of her music and friendly with her father. Does that make me a little biased? Probably, but the truth is I would feel this way about anything that has generated increased interest in the sport I've told people is my first, true love.
That’s also why it may surprise some folks that I understand the frustration a lot of people have in regard to the amount of time and attention she is given during Chiefs games this season. A large portion of football fans don’t care about her or her music. They feel like talking about her or showing her reaction after a big play by Kelce — as opposed to something going on inside the white lines with a player or coach — is a distraction they aren't interested in.
They believe showing Swift is taking away from the game and their enjoyment of it. Honestly, that’s understandable, and I don’t blame the hardcore football crew for being annoyed by Swift’s presence.
I won’t talk about how many seconds she has been shown on TV—and how few it has been in the context of a more than three-hour broadcast; that’s already been said and done.
What I will tell you is why — if you truly love football, like I do — the international pop star is a godsend.
Swift has brought millions of new fans to the sport this season. Yes, primarily to the Chiefs games she has attended but the overall NFL, too. There are several reasons why the NFL had record-setting ratings this season, including the most-watched AFC Championship Game in league history, and Swift is easily the biggest.
If football is as important to critics as they say it is, isn’t it a wonderful thing that Swift has increased ratings and created fans for the sport the rest of us know and love?
Do you have any idea how hard that is to do and how much money, time and energy the NFL spends trying to accomplish what Swift has done this season?
The social media data is even more overwhelming than the television ratings. That is tremendously important as the NFL tries to engage young people, which is a lot easier said than done. Even if data isn’t your thing, the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming.
I have two young daughters who are probably more engaged in the NFL than most girls their age because of my job. Still, Swift’s relationship with Kelce has taken their interest to a totally different level. They now watch more games and ask more questions than ever before.
I’m simply asking you to take a step back and look at the big picture and appreciate all of the positives coming out of this.
It is not just my daughters. Far from it. I have friends asking me questions about football, the Chiefs and Travis Kelce who have never brought the sport up with me previously. That’s awesome, right?
If you believe as strongly as I do that American football is the world’s greatest game, you should want as many people to be exposed to it and have the chance to participate as fans of the sport or to play the game themselves.
If you're passionate about trying to grow the game globally, the Swift Effect is the supersonic boost the league needs to make headway.
Influence Beyond Numbers
It was so cool when I got a message on Twitter/X from long-time NFL offensive lineman Will Montgomery that said:
“My third-grade daughter has requested to play flag [football] next fall and have me coach her team. The Swift Effect is big in our house, too.”
I also loved this post from middle school flag football coach Holly Van Horn:
“I coach middle school girls flag football - the impact she is having on the girls and game should not go unnoticed. Interest for next season is double what it was. I’m sure you know how important it is for girls to play sports. Any sport.”
She's 100 percent correct regarding the importance of girls and sports. If Swift’s relationship with Kelce or her presence at NFL games is having this type of impact, how can that be anything but tremendous and uplifting?
I’m not asking anyone out there to become a “Swiftie” or to like her music. I won't even ask you to stop rolling your eyes when they show her several times during the Super Bowl on Sunday. I’m simply asking you to take a step back and look at the big picture and appreciate all of the positives coming out of this.
Frankly, if you care about either the sport of football or just human beings in general, how can you not?