Taylor Swift’s presence at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday was destined to capture the headlines.


As Kelce was interviewed with the Lombardi trophy at the end, Swift stood back, allowing him to take the limelight before sharing an embrace – a moment that would be captured around the world.



Ever since whispers of their relationship emerged in September, a whole new legion of fans has tuned in to American football.For some, it has been the perfect way to introduce an avalanche of newcomers to the National Football League.


For others, it has been a sideshow that has only detracted from the real stories on the football field.Her appearance at a memorable Super Bowl 58 will have done little to shift either position.The world’s biggest pop star and one of sport’s best players. Think David and Victoria Beckham, only with a huge dash of American glitz piled on top.



Throughout the autumn, Swift was a regular at Kansas City games, a dream for paparazzi as she stood alongside Kelce’s mother and Brittany Mahomes, wife of the Chiefs’ transcendent quarterback Patrick.In December, fresh from being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year, Swift confirmed she and Kelce were a couple and explained how their relationship had smoothed her way into following football.


Two worlds had officially collided.The Swift effect has swelled the sport’s TV audience, especially among young women, reportedly boosting the brand value of the NFL and the Chiefs by $331m (£260m). Sales of Kelce’s Chiefs replica jersey exploded, seeing a 400% spike, external after she first attended one of his games.



Kelce seems pleased with the extra attention, saying before the Super Bowl: “It’s been fun to gather the Swifties into Chiefs Kingdom and open them up to the football world.”The narrative around the Super Bowl was clear. Could Swift make it back from Japan in time? And just how many people would be tracking her movements? Reports even emerged earlier in the week of Swift’s lawyers sending a letter to a university student who posts information about the whereabouts of private planes.


As it was, she was able to navigate the 12-hour flight back to the US with plenty of time to spare.The media jamboree surrounding the couple has not impressed everyone.In the lead-up to the Super Bowl, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell felt compelled to dismiss conspiracy theories around Swift as “nonsense” after right-wing critics claimed the relationship was part of a plot to rig the championship and help get US President Joe Biden re-elected.


For some purists, the chatter around Swift’s appearance is only a distraction. In their mind, every TV cutaway, photograph or mention of Swift’s name diverts praise from Mahomes, the NFL’s offensive player of the year Christian McCaffrey and the rest of the stars on the field.As tennis legend Andy Murray put it in a tweet, external afterwards, “Congrats to @taylorswift13 on winning Super Bowl 58 👏 a stunning performance.”


Ever the performer, Swift played up to the cameras in Vegas. Midway through the first half, she was featured on the big screen inside the stadium and promptly knocked back her drink, albeit to a mixed reaction from a crowd dominated by 49ers’ fans.


Indeed, in a game initially dominated by defences, it seemed the most notable on-pitch event for her boyfriend would be when he barged into his head coach Andy Reid after he was ignored on a play call and the ball was turned ove