How Taylor Swift Changed Football: For America and I

Every year during the Super Bowl, my dad goes out with his friends. Up until I went to college, my mom and I would usually spend the evening together watching cable, occasionally switching to the game and seeing the score, either groaning or cheering based on how the team my dad told us to root for was doing. He would come home to a happy hug from us or a sadder hug from us. Last year, my mom spent the Super Bowl alone at home because of me being away at college. But this year that changed.

My mom loves Taylor Swift. We were supposed to see her infamous Eras Tour together this past year until an unfortunate root canal cancelled our plans. And with this love, my mom and many other girls and women have started following football ever since Taylor sat in a box at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 24 and we found out about her and Travis Kelce’s, tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, relationship. Despite the misogynistic hate train that followed, something changed. Girls and women everywhere who had previously shown no interest in the sport everywhere began tuning into football with their husbands and fathers for the first time in years. 

The Super Bowl is an American holiday. Jerseys are bought, facepaint is put on and chicken wings and seven layer dip are put out for those watching. America, specifically men, have been watching the Super Bowl for their entire lives. It gives them something to follow, people to root for and ways to connect with those around them. But the NFL has been missing out on an entire other demographic: American women.

With Taylor Swift’s recent tour taking the world by stride, she has become more of a household name than she was in the past. She became something many women could relate to, her songs focusing on romance and women-centric issues in this world. Men disliking her made women root for her more. Ecstatic to create outfits for the tour and hear the “surprise song” she would perform every show, her tour brought in more money than any in American history. And women everywhere love her. 

Now, let’s say, these interests combine. 

“This season, dads and daughters found a new way to connect,” a quote from an ad by Cetaphil that rings true for households in this country. It depicts a distant relationship between a father and his daughter, him unable to connect with her and not knowing how. Until she starts watching Chiefs games with him. Her phone is put down and she snuggles with her father, her wearing a “13” Chiefs shirt, him wearing friendship bracelets he made her, to watch the Super Bowl together. And people everywhere related to the sentiment. 

@BadSon21 on Tiktok uploaded a video in 2022 of him and another man alone in a large living room reacting to their team winning the Superbowl. They hug and cheer, but it feels lonely. But on Feb. 11, he uploaded a video of the same living room, the same man next to him, but this time the entire family is with them. When the Chiefs win, the living room is filled with life. All of them are cheering and hugging, one of the men is in tears and one of the little girls wearing a Taylor Swift Eras Tour shirt being hugged by her father. A similar TikTok uploaded by @thetoddkale depicts his daughter asking questions about football, learning more than she ever had before about the sport. The caption read, “Look at what Taylor Swift has done to this kid.” And then there are the videos that didn’t go viral, videos that were not filmed, but all of these experiences mean one thing. Taylor Swift has brought families together like never before this Super Bowl season. 

A study by the Morning Consult told us that this year, 64% of Gen Z and Millennial women developed an appreciation for football, higher than ever before. According to Apex Marketing, Swift has given the NFL and the Chiefs an additional $331.5 million in brand value. The NFL is only benefiting from this, so you think everybody who enjoys the sport would be happy about this change. But many men complain about Taylor Swift “ruining” the sport. They complain about her screen time,

 despite her only being on screen for 54 seconds during the Super Bowl, and sexual AI images were generated with her and the Chiefs team, leading to a lawsuit on her part. Some people even believe that the relationship is a plot to produce more support for Biden in the upcoming election. This misogynistic hate train, while frustrating, is not surprising. 

Despite this, many Taylor Swift fans have been following football, and developing a passion for it. Even CBS Sports wrote an article explaining basic football rules for Taylor Swift fans who wanted to tune in. Many articles, tweets and posts have been published online about how they tune in to football just for Taylor Swift. The NFL has always been a controversial organization, with many pro-footballers being accused of acts of violence against women. Men belittle women who are interested in the sport, and women are cast aside by the NFL themselves. 

Taylor Swift’s presence is giving women hope. That no matter how they are treated, women will always prevail and find their own spot in a male-dominated world. Despite people’s opinions on Taylor Swift, we can all agree she has had a massive impact on the football world. And this year, she had a massive impact on people’s families. This year, she brought fathers and daughters together. This year my dad stayed home during the Super Bowl for the first time I can remember.