Taylor Swift, Rookie of the Year

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

This Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Six months ago, these words would have meant nothing to me. But this year, it marks something huge: We’re approaching the grand finale of Taylor Swift’s first season with the NFL.

Swift famously started dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce over the summer, shortly before the NFL’s 2023–2024 season kicked off. Since then, she’s become a bit of a fixture at football stadiums, where she often watches her boyfriend throw, catch, dance, and score with the enthusiasm of the global pop star–slash–cheerleader girlfriend that she is. Swift and Kelce have brought a lot of new attention to the NFL — the organization and its many commentators have been accused of obsessing over her presence in the player’s box, and you cannot deny that, because of her, Swifties who know all the lyrics to “Love Story” now also understand how to “run” “offense.” Sounds like MVP material to me.

At least two other people agree: Travis Kelce and his brother Jason, who took a moment during their recent podcast episode to congratulate Swift on reaching the Super Bowl “in her rookie year.” “Shout-out to Tay,” indeed.

Photo: Cooper Neill/Getty Images

September 24

Where were you when Taylor Swift ate ketchup and seemingly ranch at Arrowhead Stadium? Less than a month into the official 2023–2024 season, Swift showed up at Travis Kelce’s home field to watch her rumored fling beat the Chicago Bears. Unbeknownst to us, Swift and Kelce had struck up a relationship over the summer, but these images of her laughing with his mom and pumping her fist to the tune of three touchdowns were the first we heard about it. After the game, the two of them drove off into the sunset in a convertible, setting the stage for two fandoms to cosmically collide.

Photo: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

October 1

Perhaps heartened by her warm welcome the week prior, Swift brought a lengthy roster of guests to see Kelce play the Jets at MetLife Stadium: Sophie Turner, Sabrina Carpenter, Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds, Hugh Jackman, Antoni Porowski, and Shawn Levy. Brittany Mahomes, the wife of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, joined the fray. (More on her later.) Naturally, the Chiefs won again.

Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images

October 12

After one game, I think most of Swifts friends got sick of watching football with her, because for a while she pretty much just hung out with her boyfriend’s mom and Brittany Mahomes. Still, she brought her usual mix of ecstatic cheering and laser focus, visibly marveling at the score while a Chiefs windbreaker dangled off her shoulders. Also, the Chiefs beat the Broncos. Go, team!

Photo: David Eulitt/Getty Images

October 22

During another home game (this one was against the L.A. Chargers), we got to see Swift and Mahomes gleefully perform what appeared to be a secret handshake that strongly resembles a dance I did with my bunkmates at sleepaway camp. Thanks to their lightly choreographed juju, the Chiefs won yet again.

Photo: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

December 3

At this Wisconsin game against the Green Bay Packers, Swift and Mahomes reached the “wearing coordinating outfits” stage. They also hung out with Lyndsay Bell, the wife of Kelce’s fellow Chiefs tight end Blake Bell. All of them cheered, like, really hard, but the Chiefs still lost, marking the first game Swift attended that didn’t go their way.

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

December 10

The dark period, trouble in paradise, etc. Back at their home stadium, the Chiefs lost to the Buffalo Bills while Swift and her side bangs valiantly looked on in an oversize knit Chiefs sweater. She also hung out with Ava and Gracie Hunt, the daughters of the Chiefs’ CEO, and got a birthday present from the Hunt family: a Swarovski-encrusted novelty purse shaped like a microphone. I think they nailed it.

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

December 17

As every WAG is doomed to do at some point, Swift sojourned to Boston to watch Kelce face off against the New England Patriots. This time, she was able to rope in a few emotional-support squad members: her dad, her backup singer, her friend Ashley, and musician Alana Haim. She wore a very chill Chiefs sweatshirt and beanie, and the Chiefs got back on their winning streak. Sometimes, good things happen in Massachusetts.

Photo: Kirby Lee/Getty Images

December 25

Swift arrived at the Chiefs’ Christmas Day game against the Las Vegas Raiders with a person “dressed as Old St. Nick,” who apparently turned out to be her brother. Her parents also tagged along, and she and Mahomes both wore Santa hats with their partners’ jersey numbers printed on the side. The Chiefs lost, but Swift definitely texted Kelce promising to leave the Christmas lights up ’til January.

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

December 31

Another successful home game, this one against the Cincinnati Bengals. Swift wore a Chiefs letterman jacket, because what better way to spend the last day of the year than cosplaying as your high-school bully? Sounds cathartic.

Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

January 13

Either sitting next to your boyfriend’s mom during a negative-four-degree football game is your worst nightmare, or you are Taylor Swift. That’s exactly what she did for her first Chiefs game of 2024, during which the home team beat the severely unwinterized Miami Dolphins. Not one to pass up an opportunity for customized accessories, Swift wore a puffer jacket with Kelce’s name and jersey number designed by fellow football WAG Kristin Juszczyk. After the game, she was filmed dancing to the song “Swag Surfin’.” I will spare you the details; just know the crowd was really amped. Really, no one should have been surprised — this woman has never met a group dance move she didn’t like.

Photo: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

January 21

This game was exciting because we got to see Swift attempt to process Kelce’s extremely Philadelphian brother Jason, who plays for the recently eliminated Eagles. (He actually may not be playing football at all anymore, but that’s a whole other story.) Now that Jason is free to drink beer and take his shirt off during football games, he is really living his best life. For her part, Swift hung out with Brittany Mahomes’s enormous furry hat, and also for some reason Jerrod Carmichael. In a shocking turn of events, something tabloid-worthy happened on the field this time — Kelce blew a kiss in the direction of the player’s box after a touchdown and made heart hands twice. Oh, and the Chiefs won, bringing us one step closer to a Taylor Swift Super Bowl.

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

January 28

For two weeks, I have thought of nothing but these photos of Travis Kelce tenderly cradling his prom queen while celebrating a Big Football Win. Swift is decked out in tasteful merch, from a “TNT” bracelet to a pitch-perfect red sweater courtesy of her best friend Gigi Hadid, and per usual her lipstick is cemented in place, even after several consecutive congratulatory kisses. This is the exact opposite of the “You Belong With Me” music video. Imagine what she’ll do if he wins the big one!

Taylor Swift, Rookie of the Year