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The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Haters Gonna Hate: Taylor Swift Is Good for the NFL, So Why Can’t Football Fans Accept Her?

Staff illustration: Amber More

The NFL has been trying to expand its audience for over a decade. They have hosted games in Europe and streamed games on Nickelodeon, spewing virtual slime into the end zone when a team scores. But those efforts aren’t what brought millions of views to the NFL. Instead, a relationship between Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has grown the game’s audience exponentially. And yet, many fans refuse to see her presence as a success for the sport.

When Taylor Swift first attended the Chiefs versus Bears game in September 2023, female NFL viewership increased by 63%. It only grew from there. When Swift was spotted in the box of the Chiefs versus Jets game in October, it was the most watched NFL game since the 2023 Super Bowl. 

Taylor Swift has brought the NFL what it wanted most: attention. So why are fans upset about it? If we’re being honest, the football community does not have the best track record of being welcoming to female fans. Many female sports fans are familiar with “the quiz”: after mentioning a liking for the sport, they’re often met with “Oh, you’re a football fan? OK, name the backup receiver for the Minnesota Vikings” or “Who was the quarterback for the Dolphins in ‘82?” Excluding Swifties from the NFL reflects the age-old attitude that women can’t truly appreciate sports. 

Some football fans claim their resentment towards Swift stems solely from her image oversaturating the NFL’s coverage of its games, declaring that she doesn’t need to be shown on screen twice a quarter. Sports Illustrated writer Jimmy Traina went as far to say that “legitimate NFL fans” hated the cutaways to Swift and her famous friends during the Chiefs-Jets game. But fans aren’t complaining when the cameras pan away from the field and instead show Matthew McConaughey on the sidelines of UT Austin games or shots of cheerleaders waving their pom-poms.

The truth is, fans aren’t upset that the attention is not on the game. They are upset that the attention is on Taylor Swift. A woman who they assume must know nothing about football, despite being a well-known Eagles fan. The notion that “legitimate NFL fans” can’t also watch the game to see a world-famous singer implies that football is not a game that can be enjoyed by the masses.

Just because more women are watching football does not mean it isn’t the same game with the same stakes. And further, viewership among teenage girls increased by 53% the first three weeks of Sunday Night Football in the 2023 NFL season. Isn’t it remarkable that one woman can be an entry point for so many into a fascinating, entertaining sport? 

Ideally, these new viewers fall in love with a sport appreciated by so many. So instead of mocking Swift and her fans, football lovers should respect her ability to do what the league has failed at: bringing their beloved game to a new faction of America. Taylor Swift doesn’t seem to be giving up her tickets anytime soon — her fans shouldn’t be shunned away either.


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About the Contributor
Sonia Dholakia
Sonia Dholakia, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: Working with the entire staff to create a great product and becoming friends along the way.

Interests outside of school: Mock trial, traveling, and listening to Taylor Swift.

Class of 2025

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