Northwest Herald

Oliver: Football ‘purists’ with a Taylor Swift problem need to rethink their game plan

I must admit that the first time I saw pop superstar Taylor Swift sitting with the Kelce family at a Kansas City Chiefs game, which coincidentally was against my beloved Chicago Bears, my heart sank.

It’s probably not for the same reason that a lot of the “haters” have for their displeasure.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Swift’s music, nor of the Chiefs for that matter, I wish her no ill will. The Grammy-winning artist has millions of fans and so much power that she can break the internet. I respect that. She also could do a lot worse than tight end Travis Kelce as far as boyfriends go.

No, I knew that when the TV cameras caught sight of her, it would cause all manner of controversy with the football “purists.”

As if a beautiful woman who happens to be dating a football player couldn’t happen to like sports independent of the relationship. As if this was her first time watching a sporting event. Puh-leez.

During one of the playoff games that she attended, the network showed her for a combined total of 44 seconds. That’s right: 44 seconds. Less than a minute. Over the span of the entire game, which lasts more than two hours if you count commercial breaks and halftime.

I can’t imagine that those 44 seconds ruined anyone’s day. And if they did, then I’m afraid that person has more wrong with them than a mere aversion to red lipstick and pop princesses.

Did anyone have the same reaction when the TV networks showed the greatest gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, when she attended Green Bay Packers games to support her husband, strong safety Jonathan Owens? Does Biles somehow avoid the same criticism because she too is an athlete?

It’s a no-brainer that the TV networks are going to try to show Swift in the stands (and Biles too) because that’s what a lot of people want to see. It’s also helping to pump up the ratings, which the last time I checked is kind of the point.

Which sort of leads into the next complaint. Swift’s presence is causing a lot of people – young girls, mostly – to watch football even though they know nothing about the sport.

What? That’s a bad thing? I can’t tell you how happy I am when I meet another woman who wants to discuss the shortcomings of the Chicago Bears offensive line or whether she thinks Justin Fields is the long-term answer to the quarterback question.

Young girls have to start somewhere. Maybe they aren’t necessarily drawn to the sport because they haven’t tried it yet. If Taylor Swift gets them to sit down and ask a few questions about the goings-on on the field, well, that’s great in my book.

On social media, I’ve encountered more than one cute video of a little girl pointing to a television showing Swift in the stands. There’s usually a comment from a grateful father about their daughter’s sudden interest in the game of football.

How can anyone think that’s a bad thing? I have fond memories of watching all sorts of sports with my own father. Those are memories that I treasure.

Let the girl be. Besides, she and Travis look happy. No one should get in the way of that. One need only have seen how they interacted after the AFC Championship game to see that they’re in the infatuation stage.

It also appears that the major players on Kelce’s Chiefs team don’t have a problem with Swift being around. If she’s a distraction, maybe it’s just that way for the haters. The rest of us will shake that off and move on.

I just hope that the two of them can tune out all this outside noise. No doubt the hoopla is just going to get even louder since the Chiefs are now set to play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Since my Bears aren’t in the Big Game, I really don’t have much of a rooting interest.

I think I’ll root for Taylor in the hopes that she finally finds her happiness. The mom in me hopes that she doesn’t have her heart broken again. All those people who seem to have nothing better to do than to criticize her can get a new hobby.

Might I suggest paying closer attention to the game on the field?

Joan Oliver is the former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at

Joan Oliver

Joan Oliver

A 30-year newspaper veteran who has been a copy editor, front-page editor, presentation editor, assistant news editor and publication editor, as well as a columnist and host of an online newspaper newscast.