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Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

The student-run news site of Lawrence Free State High School

Free Press Online

OPINION: Taylor Swift vs. NFL

Taylor Swift faces backlash for amount of NFL screen time
Design by Kouri Demelash

Several media outlets, including USA Today, predicted that Sunday’s Super Bowl would break the record for the highest viewings for any televised event, and they were right– the Super Bowl averaged 123.4 million viewers, the new record high.

The most commonly cited reason for this expanded audience is the internet’s new favorite celebrity couple, Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, also known as “Tayvis.”

This beloved relationship has benefitted nearly everyone involved. According to Newsweek, “The Taylor Effect” has generated as much as $331.50 million in additional revenue for the NFL as of Jan. 22.

Furthermore, Kelce’s public support of Swift’s career has increased his own popularity, which has already created new endorsements and earning potential as a celebrity. Swift is also getting record-breaking attention, both good and bad, and the “Swifties” have found a new source of entertainment: the world of professional football.

According to the New York Times, an additional two million women tuned into the Kansas City Chiefs game on Oct. 1 to show their support for the new relationship. Despite this benefiting all parties involved, including the NFL itself, many football fans have expressed their dismay with the amount of screen time Swift has been given this season.

Many of these people, who are mostly men, have taken to social media to express their opinions concerning her screen time. According to The Foreword, on an episode of “Pardon My Take” — a popular yet controversial American sports podcast — hosts Big Cat and PFT discussed their views on Swift’s frequent appearances.

“Taylor Swift is a problem for the NFL,” Big Cat said. PFT agreed, and responded with “[Swift] is bad for football.”

Another social media influencer also referring to Swift’s screen time, Tik Toker Henry De Tolla,  stated “[Swift] is not a player, she’s not in the league.”

The fact of the matter is, during the three hours and 44 minutes of the 2024 Super Bowl, Swift only had 54 seconds of screen time — not even one minute.

Contrasting the NFL fan’s reactions to Swift attending games, popular rapper Emenim was shown on the Jumbotron numerous times during the Detroit Lions game on Jan. 22, as well as one of his tweets cheering on the team. According to Billboard, the crowd went crazy, and nobody had anything negative to say about the male rapper’s presence.

Overall, these comments are deeply concerning and clearly have underlying sexist motivation. Swift’s presence at a football game, as well as more female representation in a male-dominated sport, should not take away anything from the game. The combined backlash about Swift from male football fans proves one fact — the only thing Swift is damaging is their egos.

This backlash is not only coming from frustrated incel-fans: conservative politicians, commentators and influencers have chosen to make the invasion of the “Swifties” their latest battle in “the culture wars” (conflict between different social groups who struggle to politically impose their ideologies on society).

Swift’s support for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, combined with Kelce’s public support of COVID-19 vaccines, make the couple a perfect target for the likes of Tucker Carlson, Ben Shapiro and Sean Hannity.

Despite the backlash, Swift continues to show her support for her boyfriend In Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2023 article, Swift described her take on the complaints about her being a distraction from the game.

“I’m just there to support Travis. I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.” 

— Swift said.

At the end of the day, Swift has made it clear that backlash from individuals who aren’t relevant to her won’t have the intended negative effect. Heading into the next season, the “dads, Brads, and Chads” will have to make room on the couch for their daughters and sisters, because according to Swift, “the haters gonna hate hate hate hate” no matter what.

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