Call them Chiefties? Meet the uber-fandom created when Taylor Swift enters the Travis Kelce era | CNN


In 2007, singer and now-mogul Jessica Simpson appeared at the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles football game wearing a pink Cowboys jersey to support her boyfriend, Cowboy star quarterback Tony Romo.

The Cowboys lost that game after Romo played what is considered one of the worst games of his career, statistically speaking. In any case, even though Romo was the man who played the game, Simpson was blamed by many of the team’s superstitious fans for the loss – a reaction that was widely criticized for the act. full of selfishness.

Recalling Simpson’s “unbelievable, bad attitude” during Romo’s tenure prompted Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Todd Chance to take on Taylor Swift’s loyal fan base, known as ‘the name Swifties, will come to the Chiefs Kingdom with open arms in September, when the team’s superstar ends strongly. Travis Kelce started dating the superstar singer.

“I know there’s going to be an element of toxicity in that fan culture that they’re going into in the NFL,” Chance, 48, told CNN in an interview. “I want to let them know that there are a lot of people in Chiefs State who are very welcoming.”

To Chance’s delight, Swift’s fans welcomed him as well. On his TikTok page, Chance shared his knowledge of the Chiefs’ history with Swifties on the Internet and in return, Swifties who took notice gave him directions to many of his albums. Swift is what he should listen to first.

In a world often driven by divisiveness, Chance and football fans like him represent a refreshing taste for fans – one open to those who don’t just go to the playoffs in Swift Music 101 hits on a corner of music culture that is highly commendable in its own right. power, fearsome for its learning and rooted in the core belief that In Swift We Trust.

They are chiefties.

Jessica Simpson wears Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's jersey during the 2007 Eagles-Cowboys football game in Texas.

Quick understanding

Swift first appeared at a Chiefs game in September before confirming their relationship. His attendance at many Chiefs games since then has been met with mixed reviews, but a group of people have found joy in both.

The combination of the two brought Swifties into the exciting world of football, and football fans into the world of Swift’s intricate music and riddles. As Swift once sang, call it what you will. But who exactly are these “Big Ones”?

When the Kansas City Chiefs first arrived in the bustling Missouri town in the 1960s, Chance’s father, Harold, was an ardent supporter of the team. He became part of a group of fans who called themselves the “Wolfpack”, representing the team’s Wolf mascot.

Harold watched and cheered when the Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 1970 and, ever the passionate fan, passed his knowledge and love of the team on to his son, who was born shortly after the Super Bowl victory.

Chance, now a resident of rural Kansas, grew up a Chiefs fan like his father Harold, but they didn’t get to share a Super Bowl victory together before Harold passed. Now, as the defending champion Chiefs head into Sunday’s Super Bowl, on the verge of becoming a dynastic team, Todd is thinking about his father.

“I think about him and his influence as a Chiefs fan and being patient with me as he explained the rules of the game, and why he loved it the way he did,” Chance said.

Chance did the same on social media when he posted a video on his TikTok page welcoming Swifties to Chiefs State after the first game Swift attended. He was just listening to his songs on the radio. But his interaction with Swifties on social media made him interested in Swift.

“What turned me on was when all the Swifites — who were so welcoming and kind and helpful — led me to ‘Folklore,'” he said of his 2020 album. the singer. After studying the lyrics and understanding Swift’s imaginative narrative through her music, Chance was hooked.

“I get it now,” he thought at the time.

Fans display signs in support of Taylor Swift during the Raiders-Chiefs football game in Kansas City in December.

The fun of fandom

The journey between football and “Folklore” is not just about finding music, but about receiving joy, says Megan Jennings.

Jennings, a Kansas City resident and lifelong Chiefs supporter, got his start when the singer attended his first Chiefs game. “All of a sudden I was obsessed with Taylor Swift and I needed to know everything about her,” he said.

Listening to “…Ready for Her,” a track from Swift’s 2017 album “Reputation,” Jennings had what she calls a “game-changer” moment for the first time. He went from being an audience to a lover.

The album was then played on repeat and he was eventually exposed to a Spotify shuffle of Swift’s musical oeuvre, exposing him to the breadth of Swift’s work.

In the chaos of everyday life – she has four children – Swift’s music provides an escape.

“I really enjoyed listening to his music and dancing with my children and enjoying the moment,” she said.

Jennings is attending a Swift-themed Super Bowl party on Sunday at her sister-in-law’s home in Kansas City. She plans to bring accessories for making friendship bracelets. For the children, he said.

As fun as the dance parties and beaded jewelry are, however, Jennings and Chance say their admiration for Swift goes much deeper, too.

“She feels connected to being an independent woman. He stands up for what he believes in,” Jennings said. “I just think she’s a great role model.”

Chance was surprised to be linked with a song written by an artist leading a genre that is often left out of playlists.

“He can write a song and make it really personal to you even though it might not be something related to what’s going on in your life,” he said.

Taylor Swift celebrates with fans at the Dolphins-Chiefs football game in Kansas City in January.

The road from Chiefs Kingdom to Swiftie-ville, of course, goes both ways.

Danielle Griffith, who runs an active Swift fan account on TikTok and is an independent soccer fan, finds herself asking questions about the rules of the game when interacting with her followers.

“I think a lot of Swifties want to be involved in whatever kind of thing Taylor is involved in,” Griffith told CNN in an interview. “The beauty of Taylor Swift is that she has such a loyal following and she is so revered and respected that I think Swifties would follow her anywhere.”

What he says is true, which is reflected in the situation.

One, for example, is that the Chiefs’ Facebook page had about 2.1 million followers as of early September 2023 – before Swift attended his first game that month – according to data from social media monitoring platform CrowdTangle provided to CNN by representative Meta. The page has since gained 400,000 followers.

Another fact: Female viewers for the 2023 NFL regular season rose 9% last year, according to statistics measured by Neilson provided by the NFL to CNN. It’s hard to say how much Swift’s attendance at Chiefs games since his first game in September has had an effect on the increase in female viewers, a key demographic for him, but in the standings, at the very least, the impact of bringing new fans into the game is certain. felt. Just ask Donna Kelce, mother of Travis and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason.

“I get letters, texts and comments when I’m at the airport about how happy the fathers are that their daughters are coming to them to try to understand the game,” Donna Kelce told CNN’s Lisa Respers France. “And they never thought it would happen.”

Kelce said he appreciates the family feeling.

“I really believe it brings families closer together.” Sports tend to do that,” he added.

For Chance, he appreciates the social aspect that sports and music have brought to his world. His new community in the Chiefties is the cherry on top.

He said: “I’m just a simple person trying to live life. “And find a few things to be happy about along the way.”

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