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Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

The student-run community news site of Vermont State University - Johnson

Basement Medicine

A swift kick in the pass

Taylor+Swift+%28right%29+and+Brittany+Mahomes%2C+wife+of+Kansas+City+Chiefs+quarterback+Patrick+Mahomes%2C+react+after+Swift%E2%80%99s+boyfriend%2C+Chiefs+tight+end+Travis+Kelce%2C+scores+a+touchdown+in+the+2024+AFC+divisional+round+game+against+the+Buffalo+Bills+on+January+21%2C+2024.+At+the+time%2C+the+game+was+the+most-watched+program+since+last+year%E2%80%99s+Super+Bowl.+Swift%E2%80%99s+game+appearances+led+to+upwards+of+two+million+additional+women+tuning+in+to+Chiefs+games+at+the+end+of+the+season%2C+according+to+Nielsen+Media+Research.
Mark J. Rebilas
Taylor Swift (right) and Brittany Mahomes, wife of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, react after Swift’s boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, scores a touchdown in the 2024 AFC divisional round game against the Buffalo Bills on January 21, 2024. At the time, the game was the most-watched program since last year’s Super Bowl. Swift’s game appearances led to upwards of two million additional women tuning in to Chiefs games at the end of the season, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Kansas City Chiefs won this year’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers on a 13-play drive in overtime. Keep this in mind, as we will come back to the number 13 soon enough. Meantime, now that the NFL season has ended in dramatic fashion, it’s a good time to assess the impact that a certain superstar singer-songwriter has had on football fans nationwide. Unless you’ve spent the last number of months living in a galaxy far distant from our own, I’m sure you know that I’m talking about Taylor Swift. Regardless of what you might think of her, it is undeniable that TayTay has not only rocked the entertainment industry but also many other realms of society, including the world of football. And I for one want to give her a big shout out, for reasons that will shortly become apparent.
To start, here is a typical (okay, maybe a little bit exaggerated) conversation you could’ve heard in my house in the fall of 2022:
Me (to my daughter): There’s a football game on TV tonight that I’d like to watch. The Kansas City Chiefs are playing the (insert any other NFL team’s name here).
My daughter (back to me): Oh, Dad, I really want to watch (some movie or other) at that time on the TV. It’s better than watching on a (insert any other type of viewing device besides a TV) because (insert any number of reasons/excuses/pretexts). And besides, football is a stupid game. I can’t understand it at all.
Me: What’s not to understand?
My daughter: The scoring system, for one thing. I mean, why is it six points for – what do they call that thing that everyone is trying to make?
Me: A touchdown?
My daughter: Yeah, that’s it! And then after that they have to kick it between two posts to get another point? And why is it then three points for…what do you call it when they kick it through the posts at some other times?
Me: You mean a field goal?
My daughter: Yup, that’s it! So stupid. And it’s such a violent game anyway. Here’s an idea: why don’t you just get an app on your phone?
Me: How can I buy the NFL app?
My daughter: Oh Dad, you are SO-O-O clueless. I’ll show you but only if you never watch another football game on TV again.
And so on and so forth…
And here is what you would’ve heard about a month ago:
My daughter: Dad, there’s an NFL playoff game tomorrow that I’d like to watch with you. It’s Kansas City vs. the Buffalo Bills and if Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs win they could be on the road to appearing in their sixth Conference Championship.
Me: Wait, are you feeling okay?
My daughter: I want to root for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who was picked by them in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft and later won Super Bowls LIV and LVII with the team, catching a touchdown pass in both wins.
Me (to my wife): Call the police! Someone kidnapped our daughter and replaced her with this clone.
My daughter: And Taylor Swift, who’s going out with Travis Kelce, will be at the game, and I’m sure the cameras are going to cut to her whenever Travis makes a big play.
Me (to my wife): Never mind.
My daughter (absent-mindedly, to no one in particular): I wonder if Mahomes and Kelce will break the record this playoff season for most touchdowns scored by a quarterback-tight end duo? Or if Travis’ brother Jason, who started a franchise record 156 regular season games at center for the Eagles, will be in attendance?

On top of this startling turn of conversation from the 2022 football season to the one that just finished up is the fact that my daughter now regularly sends me texts relating to all manner of NFL topics. So I think you can figure out why I’ve become, if not a full-fledged Swiftie, at least a big admirer of Taylor and her vast influence.
There is, of course, a quid pro quo to all this newfound football togetherness between my daughter and me. I did consent to watch the almost three-hour-long “Eras Tour” movie last month. And the next week I listened to about six-hours’ worth of Taylor’s songs as my daughter and I drove together back to her school. But all that is a small price to pay given what I’ve received in return – and, if I’m being honest, I really did enjoy both the movie and the music.
Besides, there are other intriguing aspects of the connection of the most popular sport in America to Miss Americana (as Swift is sometimes called). Consider this: Football is all about strength, stamina, working out and generally being in great shape. Well, to get ready for her ongoing tour, Taylor underwent a training regimen that would no doubt have met with the approval of the toughest football coaches.
Furthermore, football players and fans – like those of most sports – are obsessed with numbers and statistics. Well, as it turns out, so are Taylor and her fans. In fact, Swift even said in conversation with Paul McCartney in 2020 that “numbers kind of rule my world.”
To give just one example of many, 13 is her lucky number because she was born on Dec. 13. and she turned 13 on Friday the 13th. Also, her first album went gold in 13 weeks and her first number one song had a 13-second intro. I could go on for 13 years about Taylor’s obsession with other numbers as well, but you get the idea.
And as fate would have it, in their classic playoff game this year against Buffalo – as I was reminded via text by my daughter in real time – Travis Kelce’s first touchdown made the score 13 for the Chiefs, which, I kid you not, has been a lucky number for the team as well. This is because they came back to win in the last 13 seconds to beat the Bills in a playoff game in 2020 (the very same year that Swift told McCartney that numbers rule her world!).
In that epic contest, by the way, the winning touchdown pass was caught by – you guessed it! – Travis Kelce. All this is topped off by the fact that this year’s Kansas City playoff victory over Buffalo was the 13th postseason win for Mahomes. Coincidence? I think not.
And if all that is not enough, how about the fact that the Super Bowl that was just played on February 11 (or 2/11…and 2+11=13) was Number 58 (5+8=13). And it was the 13th Chiefs game that Taylor attended this past season. And the other Super Bowl team was the 49ers … and what does 4 + 9 equal? And the 49ers were the 1 seed and KC was a 3 seed…Please, feel free to stop me anytime!
Moving on from the realm of numbers, I also learned that Taylor’s dad is a lifelong Philadelphia Eagles fan and he and his daughter would watch the occasional game together while she was growing up in Pennsylvania. Apparently, Taylor wasn’t super into football back then, but here’s what she said recently about the game: “Football is awesome, it turns out.”
So thank you, thank you, thank you Taylor Swift! Not only do I now get to watch at least some football games on TV without feeling somewhat selfish, but more importantly, it gives me a real kick to have a new way of relating to my daughter.
And to all those “no-nonsense” guys who see red because they think there are too many shots of “T. Swizzle” during Chiefs games, I say shake it off – you need to calm down. I would only ask the following: for audience shots during the NFL playoffs would you prefer the cameras to focus, as they tend to do now, on insane dudes with their shirts off in subzero weather and their bodies painted in team colors? What’s so wrong about also getting to see, for, say, about 30 seconds of a three-hour broadcast, a talented, smart, attractively-clad woman – unpainted, except for her lips – rooting for her boyfriend’s team? Speak now or forever hold your beer. After all, as Swift sings, she loves the players and you love the game!

 

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About the Contributor
Russ Weis, Staff Writer, Copy Editor
Russ Weis has taught Writing, Education, and other classes on the Johnson campus for over twenty years. He loves wordplay, (and is known in student circles as a bit of a weis guy), and nothing gives him greater pleasure than to be able to work (and play) in our rural academic community. Besides reading and writing, he also loves sports, including skiing, soccer, tennis, and, most recently, pickleball.

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