Taylor Swift fans were buzzing this past weekend when the 12-time Grammy Award winner attended the Kansas City Chiefs' matchup against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. But were football fans just as into it?
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce brought it up to his brother on this week's episode of their podcast, "New Heights," saying, "It seemed like the cameras were more interested in potentially the patrons of the game than the people playing."
Swift wasn't the only celebrity in attendance. The music icon brought along a star-studded group, including Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds and Sophie Turner. Hugh Jackman, Sabrina Carpenter and Antoni Porowski were also seen at the stadium.
Following the camera shots on the box seats and the "Sunday Night Football" ad featuring Swift's hit "Welcome to New York," Jason Kelce eventually asked the question circling the internet: Is the NFL overdoing it?
"Take away your feelings for Taylor," Jason Kelce told his brother as the tight end laughed. "What is your honest opinion on how the NFL is treating celebrities at games?"
Travis Kelce responded that he finds it fun when the league shows which stars are at the game, adding that he thinks "it brings a little bit more to the atmosphere, brings a little bit more to what you’re watching."
But as he starts to give a counterpoint, Jason Kelce interrupts to say, "They're overdoing it," to which his brother agrees: "They're overdoing it a little bit, especially with my situation."
"I think they’re just trying to have fun with it," Travis Kelce added.
Jason Kelce theorized that the NFL is "just not used to celebrities coming to the games," as opposed to other leagues like the NBA.
"Like, basketball has it figured out. They’re all courtside, they’re sitting there," he said of celebrities at NBA games. "They show them once or twice, but then they get back to the game."
Jason Kelce then asked his brother another question that was on fans' minds during Sunday's game: "Dude, how many commercials have you done?"
Through laughter, the Chiefs player said, "Yeah, we racked it up in the offseason," adding that at least one to two more commercials are in the works.
Some football players don't seem too bothered by the Swift-Kelce coverage. On last week's podcast episode, Jason Kelce asked Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones if he thought the team's defensive line was getting enough credit these days.
"Well, when you think about it, when we have f------ Pat Mahomes and Travis Kelce on offense scoring so many damn points, and we got Taylor Swift at the game, who gives a damn about the defense, bro?" he joked.
Swifties and football fans alike can't deny the increased viewership for the NFL. Sunday's broadcast averaged 27 million viewers, according to NBC Sports, making it the most-watched Sunday program since the Super Bowl aired in February.
Compared to the first three weeks of "Sunday Night Football," ratings for this past weekend's game were up 53% for girls ages 12 to 17, 24% for women between the ages of 18 and 24, and 34% for women over 35, NBC Sports reported, citing Nielsen data.
“The collective growth resulted in an approximate viewership increase of more than two million female viewers,” NBC Sports said.
Though a close matchup, the Chiefs earned a win over the Jets, 23-20, on the New York team’s home turf.
The NFL leaned into the chatter over Swift following Sunday's broadcast by making references to her attendance at recent games on its social media accounts. Amid backlash, the league defended its social media activity in a statement to TODAY.com, saying in part, "We frequently change our bios and profile imagery based on what’s happening in and around our games, as well as culturally. The Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce news has been a pop cultural moment we’ve leaned into in real time, as it’s an intersection of sport and entertainment, and we’ve seen an incredible amount of positivity around the sport.”