Taylor Swift reacts during the first quarter.Photo: Joe Camporale/USA Today Sports
Taylor Swift, firmly in her WAG era, ended weeks of speculation about her attendance at the Super Bowl on Sunday night. She managed to fly from the Tokyo arena show to Las Vegas to watch her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, play in the Super Bowl.
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In typical Swift style, the appearance was a tightly choreographed ritual that involved two private jets (one on standby, just in case) to ensure she arrived in Sin City on time. When Swift hit Allegiant Stadium, the entourage included Blake Lively, Ice Spice and Kelce’s sister-in-law Kylie.
Kelce, already a popular and decorated football player in his own right, has received an unprecedented PR boost from dating one of America’s biggest pop stars. He also showed up in style before the game, wearing Amri’s custom bedazzled combination of a bouclé shirt and matching glittery trousers. Kelce also started a Louis Vuitton bag for good measure. The New York Post estimated that this ensemble cost more than $3,000.
It was a look coordinated to complement Swift’s outfit: $695 crystal jeans from Area, a cropped corset and a bomber jacket blazed with the Chiefs logo. Let’s not forget why she was there, Swift wore a custom necklace and an 87 football-shaped t-shirt – Kelce’s jersey number.
Since Swift and Kelce debuted their relationship early in the season, some NFL fans (gently) took issue with the numerous camera shots of the singer’s private box. But during the Super Bowl, there weren’t many underdogs, perhaps surprisingly for fans who were expecting more. Eras Tour: Part II was not this.
Those watching the game for Swift alone had to take to social media for an endless stream of content. During a pre-game performance with Post Malone, Swift and Lively hugged each other while swaying to the music.
Later, Swift greeted fellow pop star Lana Del Rey, bending down from her elevated perch to hug the star, not unlike how a princess might greet a peasant. (Lana then entered the box.)
Another highlight: Swift chugging beer with longtime friend Nashville stylist Ashley Avignone, as caught on the stadium jumbotron. well, something You have to lift your spirits when your boy’s team is down 10-3 at halftime.
A photo of Swift introducing Ice Spice to Kelce’s brother Jason also made the rounds online, highlighting the likelihood of their odd pairing. While Swift may have had all the attention, Ice’s presence was delightful.
Like many spectators watching everything but the game, she seemed to have no clue what was going on, probably requiring a full explanation of how football works from Avignone at one point.
Kelce was caught on camera yelling at Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, in an undeniably uncomfortable moment. But curiously, some online commentators took another very strange step, going on to witness the player’s anger issues.
“These are terrible images from Travis Kelce. Are we sure Taylor is safe around this guy?” asked one sports account. “If Travis Kelce is this violent with the cameras on him, what about when Taylor Swift is alone with him?” echo another X user (formerly Twitter).
Kelce’s visible frustration during the moment may have been at odds with his coveted reputation as a rebounding golden boy. But it’s still quite a stretch to call him an abuser just to get into a ref face. The clip gives ammunition to hard-right conservatives who have repeatedly come after the celebrity couple for what they see as liberal bias.
Kelce advocated for Covid vaccines and supported Black Lives Matter. While Swift usually remains diplomatic and apolitical, she has endorsed Biden in 2020, and many — including a vivacious Donald Trump — believe another 2024 endorsement is in the works. Apparently, the lovers couldn’t be pop culture’s hottest couple without igniting some uncomfortable conspiracy theories.
After a rather boring game – at least for Swift fans who expected more from a relatively sleepy Kansas City performance – things picked up at the end of the third quarter. When the Chiefs earned a comeback, taking the scoreboard in hand and getting a commanding lead over the San Francisco 49ers, Swift and Co. jumped impressively in the private box.
With Swift, Spice, Lively and Avignone hugging each other, it was a perfect visual summer of the Swift brand: manufactured empowerment, a celebration of feminist pop girl power.
The drama of the game continued well into the fourth quarter, as Kansas City caught up with the 49ers to tie the game heading into overtime. Although the Chiefs eventually took the title, it was short-lived all the way – as photos of Swift’s box show, the singer chewed on her nails during the closest calls. If the Swift/Kelce pairing is a government psyop, as conservatives would like to believe, the CIA sure knows how to stage a good football.
The hour-long extravaganza ended the way many fans hoped it would – Swift and Kelce, the winners, sharing a kiss on the field. (We’re not talking about that Viva Las Vegas performance.) A real-life romcom played out on screen.