Maybe Travis Kelce’s romance with Tay Tay will last about as long as Aaron Rodgers’ gig with the Jets, but for now everyone is running with it. Madison Avenue, the NFL and Swift’s staff must be staying up late each night coming up with ways to exploit this thing for all it’s worth while it lasts, and apparently they convinced the football gods to play along. Just when we thought that Zach Wilson and the Jets might actually spoil the plot Sunday night, the Chiefs and Kelce pulled out a win.

Memo to Wilson: Shake It Off.

Tay Tay is a force of nature. You think Kelce is a big deal, sports fans? He’s not even in her league. If she were North America, he would be Guam.

The NFL is just glad to be in the news for something that isn’t straight from a police blotter or drawing the public’s wrath. After Deshaun Watson and the gambling suspensions and the anthem kneeling and Kaepernick and the wokeness we get, awwww, cute — the football player and Miss Americana. Kelce has caught the Tay-Bug. How Enchanted. (I hope you appreciate that someone of advanced years managed to pull off allusions to two Taylor Swift songs in one paragraph.)

Here’s what I think went down when Swift and Kelce went public. Swift met with Roger Goodell at a secret location and laid it out for him: “Here’s the deal, Commish: I’ll bring millions of Swifties to the NFL — a demographic consisting of females ages 5 to 35 — and you’ll give me the male NFL audience, plus I’ll get a new song out of it five minutes after the breakup. Meanwhile, we can sell a lot of jerseys and insurance, too.”

To which Goodell replied, “Where do I sign?”

Tay Tay is a pop singing sensation of course, but that’s not her greatest talent. Many years ago I participated in an interview with rock legend (and Swift’s namesake) James Taylor, and for some reason someone asked him what he thought of Swift (what?!). Taylor paused a moment and then said, “She’s a marketing genius.”

If Tay Tay is not collaborating musically with James Taylor or Ed Sheeran or John Mayer or Colbie Caillat or Chris Stapleton or the group formally known as The Dixie Chicks or Keith Urban and many many more — mining new audiences across all genres and eras — she’s dating them, breaking up with them and writing a song about them — Joe Jonas, Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal, Lucas Till, Taylor Lautner, Conor Kennedy, Harry Styles (there were many more listed on the internet, but I lost interest). Now it’s Kelce (and, by extension, the NFL).

All of the Taylor Swift references during the Jets vs. Chiefs game
Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce and friendship bracelets: What does this trend mean?

Tay Tay is a force of nature. You think Kelce is a big deal, sports fans? He’s not even in her league. If she were North America, he would be Guam. She can fill football stadiums all by herself (like the Beatles). Let’s see a tight end do that. Maybe no one since the Fab Four has connected with the masses like this woman. Tay Tay could climb to the top of a remote mountain in Peru and run into a Swiftie. She is ubiquitous, appearing in commercials, taking the continent by storm with her ongoing Eras Tour (68 shows this year, ticket sales expected to surpass $2 billion), cooperating for a documentary, smiling her red lipstick on magazine covers everywhere, receiving nonstop media coverage, selling 114 billion albums … and now she’s cracked the NFL market. Heaven help us.

The last two weekends she showed up in NFL suites cheering on her flame with the Kelce family and friends (what, no Matthew McConaughey!?). She got more airtime than Andy Reid during Sunday night’s Jets-Chiefs game at MetLife Stadium. There was Tay Tay with her arm around Mama Kelce. And there was — what?! — Jake from State Farm chatting up Mama K, too. During a commercial break, we saw a bank ad featuring — who else? — Taylor Swift, followed immediately by another commercial featuring Chiefs coach Andy Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and our buddy Jake, pitching insurance.

Tay-Trav has created the nexus of pop, football and Madison Avenue. Tay Tay couldn’t possibly be more popular so we won’t go there, but internet searches for Kelce’s jersey have increased by 1,267% and searches for Chiefs jerseys and tickets have risen by 1,974% and 1,853% in a week, respectively. The demand for Kelce’s jersey has surpassed that of Mahomes, famous quarterback and pitchman. By the way, Tay-Trav happened just in time to boost attention for the documentary about Kelce, soon to be released.

(If nothing else, this has been a mutually beneficial relationship. Almost makes you wonder if it was, like, you know, totally planned, the latest genius marketing move by Tay?)

If (when?) Kelce and Tay Tay split up, Goodell and the insurance people will cry their eyes out. They knew that was the risk All Too Well (get it? — another Swiftie song! We media types have done a crash course in Swift songs so we can sound hip and clever). The Swifties and NFL fans will be watching to see if Kelce joins a long trail littered with the singer’s former beaus. Cue the music: I Knew You Were Trouble.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce reacts during game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. | Adam Hunger, Associated Press