Who is Travis Kelce? All concerning the Chiefs star and Taylor Swift rumors

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If you’re a soccer fan, you’ve in all probability heard extra about Taylor Swift within the final two weeks than you’ve in your life so far. If you’re a Swiftie, you’ve in all probability heard extra about tight ends, offensive linemen, and Kansas City than you ever dreamed you’d.

Arguably the 2 greatest monocultures left standing — Taylor Swift and the NFL — have collided with a monumental influence, all as a result of Taylor has apparently begun a relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce.

By now, even when you’re not in both fandom, you’ve possible a minimum of heard about how Kelce (pronounced “Kell-see”) tried to woo Swift on the Eras tour by giving her a friendship bracelet along with his cellphone quantity written on it. Next factor we knew, the 2 had been “quietly hanging out.”

Then Taylor confirmed as much as a late-September Chiefs sport to cheer on Travis (who later confirmed he’d invited her), and it was an entire new ball sport — and never simply because the gamers had been brazenly transfixed by the megastar within the stands. Overnight, the NFL and Kelce himself grew to become the recent subject of dialog amongst individuals who’d by no means thought of soccer earlier than, whereas sportscasters discovered themselves injecting Swift references into their sports activities roundups. The media frenzy round Kelce and Swift ballooned, together with the memes and the countless references to Swifties invading sports activities fandom. Countless articles explaining soccer for Swift followers started circulating the takesphere.

When the Chiefs’ subsequent sport towards the New York Jets rolled round, the hype over Taylor/Travis (Traylor? Tayvis? The ship nomenclature is essential!) was so intense that the NFL created a viral promo for the sport that used Swift’s “Welcome to New York” because the backdrop and slyly declared the matchup to be “Taylor made for Sunday night.” And they had been proper: Swift confirmed as much as the sport with a entire crew of celeb associates together with Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Hugh Jackman (has Hugh Jackman ever even been to a soccer sport earlier than?!), all of whom frolicked with Kelce’s mother within the VIP field, cheering on the Chiefs whereas each eye was educated on Taylor.

The October 1 Chiefs/Jets sport, as an NBC press launch subsequently crowed, was not solely must-see TV, however the most-watched sport of the 12 months because the Super Bowl. As Vox’s Emily Stewart put it, “The buzz is inescapable, whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan, an NFL fan, both, or neither. Kelce’s jersey sales have spiked, as has the number of his Instagram followers … The social media chatter is endless. The media coverage is breathless. Seemingly everyone has weighed in.”

Taylor Swift, Blake Lively, and Ryan Reynolds cheer on the Kansas City Chiefs towards the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on October 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Of course, all of this hyperventilating would nonetheless have occurred if Taylor Swift had dated some other soccer participant. But it was Travis Kelce who, from all accounts, boldly pursued Swift. That’s a dramatic change from the everyday Swiftian narrative, which if we’re to consider her track lyrics normally places her within the place of “saw you across a crowded room and knew I had to have you.” In this case, the “crowded room” was Swift’s Eras tour, and Kelce was the one making the strikes.

And whereas many individuals and far of the media appear satisfied that all the relationship (in the event that they’re even relationship, which hasn’t truly been confirmed) is only a PR transfer, that solely raises extra questions: If it’s a pretend PR stunt, which ones is benefiting, and the way? What would it not say about Kelce — and soccer in 2023 — that relationship arguably the world’s reigning pop star suits into his profession ambitions?

Who is Travis Kelce?

Born, like Swift, in 1989, Travis Kelce is initially from small-town Ohio, the place he grew up taking part in quite a lot of sports activities, together with quarterbacking for his highschool alongside his older brother Jason, a operating again who went on to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. The youthful Kelce was additionally a highschool basketball star in addition to a baseball pitcher with a 90-mile-per-hour pitch, per his coach.

In school on the University of Cincinnati, Travis transitioned to the position of tight finish from quarterback, an increasingly common soccer technique that principally permits offensive linemen to make use of their quarterback expertise to their benefit. Kelce was so good he gained the 2012 College Football Performance Awards Tight End of the Year. You may suppose that accolade gave him a bonus within the NFL draft, however in actual fact Kelce was a third-round decide for the Chiefs; it wasn’t till his third season that he actually started to shine, serving to propel the Chiefs to the playoffs and incomes a spot within the 2015 Pro Bowl.

When Patrick Mahomes grew to become the group’s beginning quarterback in 2018, he and Kelce’s on-field synergy appeared to raise the group to an entire new degree — together with serving what the NFL has since known as “the greatest regular-season game of all time” towards the Rams. The Chiefs went on to win the 2019 Super Bowl towards the San Francisco 49ers — their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. Everything since for Kelce has been gravy.

What even is a good finish, and what makes Travis Kelce such a superb one?

Football consists of two sides, or “lines”: the protection and the offense. The offense tries to advance the ball down the sphere, and the protection tries to cease them. The tight finish is a hybrid position that permits gamers to function each offensive linemen (the gamers who hinder the protection and clear the way in which for the run) in addition to large receivers (those who catch and run the ball). The tight ends are the receivers who line up on the ends of the offensive line of gamers. Because Kelce is a veteran quarterback, the idea goes that he’s higher in a position to anticipate how the quarterback will suppose and the place they’ll throw the ball for him to obtain it — a type of quarterback-whisperer, if you’ll.

Here’s the factor: Kelce is a superb tight finish. Since 2015, he’s been charting legendary milestones, racking up a minimum of 1,000 receiving yards (yards run on the sphere after catching the ball) in a season. In 2015, he grew to become the primary and solely participant in NFL historical past to run 1,000 receiving yards 4 seasons in a row. Kelce has since notched that quantity each season. That’s proper: As of fall 2023, Kelce is the one tight finish in NFL historical past to run 1,000 receiving yards a season for seven consecutive seasons.

Even with the ability to run 1,000 receiving yards in any respect places him in a category with only a handful of different legendary tight ends, like former Patriots all-star Rob Gronkowski. As Chiefs blogger Evan Gabrielson just lately put it, “He’s completely obliterated any and all expectations for sustained success.”

Okay. What is he like off the sphere?

You may suppose all of this high-level footballing would go away Kelce little time for extracurriculars, however that’s the place issues get actually attention-grabbing. Kelce appears to have been jonesing for extra time within the highlight for some time now. Thanks to E!’s 2016 sequence Catching Kelce, a short-lived Bachelor-style relationship present through which single ladies vied for Kelce’s affections, the sports activities world has lengthy thought of Kelce to be “eligible” in additional than simply the draftable sense. As the titular bachelor, Kelce, per Salon’s Olivia Luppino, reportedly sleeps with a minimum of one of many ladies, “slips in and out of a Blaccent,” and confirmed no qualms about selecting the season’s villain, Maya Benberry, because the winner. (Kelce referred to her as “Kentucky” after her dwelling state.)

He was additionally self-aware that the present wasn’t truly about discovering love. It was “a dating show where no one even cared about dating.” That may comprise some hints for anybody questioning if the Swift/Kelce relationship is actual. After the present aired in fall 2016, Kelce informed ESPN’s Mike & Mike that he loved it and is “cool with all the women” who appeared, together with staying associates with Benberry — however that he had no intention of doing a second season.

“Offensive linemen aren’t known for being out in front of the camera like that, showing their personality,” Mike Golic commented to him. He was talking of Travis’s brother Jason, who made cameo appearances, however the comment applies equally to Travis, who appears totally at dwelling on digital camera and comfy with the eye. Both Kelces take pleasure in being public figures. In 2022, recent off their Super Bowl wins, the brothers launched a podcast, New Heights, which noticed them bickering about whose Super Bowl victory was cooler. Even when you’re not into sports activities, you need to admit that’s comedy gold.

New Heights has since turn into one of many greatest sports activities podcasts on the earth, routinely rating because the No. 1 sports activities podcast within the nation and gaining followers like LeBron James. Since the Swift/Kelce rumors started, it has gained much more consideration, garnering over one million further YouTube views as Swifties flock to take a look at what Kelce has to say concerning the relationship rumors.

For essentially the most half, Kelce has been chill. He informed his brother on the newest podcast episode that he thinks the media is “overdoing it,” but in addition “just trying to have fun” with all of the rumors. Meanwhile, he and Taylor are reportedly speaking on the cellphone day by day; a supply informed US Weekly that Taylor reportedly “likes that he’s a normal, nice guy. He’s down-to-earth and isn’t affected by fame. She also thinks he’s hot.”

So why would a relationship so cute be pretend?

There are a few causes to be a minimum of slightly suspicious concerning the too-good-to-be-true entanglement, however there’s additionally loads of galaxy-brain considering on the market. Some followers say the Chiefs’ advertising and marketing division engineered all the relationship as a stunt to distract Chief followers from Mahomes’s sortacontroversial spouse Brittany Mahomes, who tends to begin ruckuses on social media. Since Taylor and Brittany have been spending plenty of time collectively just lately, nonetheless, that plot, if it existed, appears to have backfired. Some followers suppose the entire thing is a ploy by Kelce to distract from his breakup with Kayla Nicole, who he dated for 5 years till shortly earlier than the Swift rumors started. Nobody actually is aware of what occurred there, however Nicole appears salty about it.

Another idea is that the Kelce brothers engineered the stunt as publicity for his or her just lately launched documentary, Kelce, which focuses on Jason’s last 12 months within the sport and culminates with him and Travis battling it out throughout 2023’s Super Bowl LVII. (Chiefs gained.) But since that is in all probability the primary time you’ve even heard that the Kelce brothers have a documentary about themselves, that rumor in all probability isn’t true both; actually Swift hasn’t been selling it for them, aside from simply making folks conscious that the Kelces exist.

Still different theories veer in the other way: Instead of being pretend, some followers argue that the 2 have secretly been gravitating towards one another since a minimum of 2013, which was when Swift was noticed holding up a Kelce jersey at a fan meet. And sharp-eyed followers have famous that when Travis performed “Kiss, Marry, Kill” in 2016, the individual he needed to kiss? Taylor Swift. We see you, fanboy. Reports that he’s “completely smitten” with Taylor aren’t going unnoticed.

What’s notable is that just about all of those rumors focus on Kelce, not Taylor; what she good points if something out of that is tough to say, particularly since she’s in all probability essentially the most talked-about pop artist on Earth in the mean time. Taylor has all the time a minimum of tried to be canny about overexposure, even when she’s sometimes missed the mark. But relationship Kelce appears to have introduced publicity like by no means earlier than.

Then why would Taylor Swift take the chance?

It’s true that the NFL is having a area day with this, and that Swifties invading their native soccer stadiums outdoors of live performance time is must-see fall TV. Kelce’s proper; the media in all probability is “overdoing it” only a bit. And whereas which may not backfire on Kelce, so long as he retains operating 1,000-yard seasons, it may very simply backfire on Swift, because it has different feminine pop stars who’ve dated athletes solely to then be blamed for these athletes’ profession setbacks. And Swift has already spent most of her profession being focused by the media as a toxic media determine. Everyone lastly found out that she’s a artistic genius, certain — however has that ever stopped a backlash from recurring?

So, sure, Taylor appears to be risking quite a bit so far Kelce proper now. But it’s additionally true that typically a woman and a man can have their eye on one another for years till the time is correct to go on a date or two and see what clicks.

And if that experiment conveniently leads Kelce to extra fame and the NFL to higher scores, nicely, who’s going to face in the way in which of real love?



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