Taylor Swift showing up for Travis Kelce’s Kansas City Chiefs game Sunday shocked and thrilled the world, but some people may also be confused how this budding romance began.
Rumors about the two potentially dating have been circling the internet since the summer, and many of Swift’s fans were rooting for the relationship.
News broke in April that Swift, 33, ended her six-year relationship with actor Joe Alwyn just as her world tour was picking up steam in the United States. Kelce, 33, appears to have remained single after breaking up with his longtime girlfriend and sports journalist Kayla Nicole in 2022.
A source close to the “Anti-Hero” singer confirmed to NBC News that Swift and Kelce were “hanging out” but things between them were in early stages.
While Swift has already done a lot in life greater than just dating the boy on the football team, there might still be room for Kelce in the pop superstar’s world.
‘A friendship bracelet and a dream’
Kelce, 33, did more than just drop a hint that he was interested in Swift — he publicly declared his interest in her to the world.
The Chief’s tight end attended the Eras Tour in July when Swift was performing at Arrowhead Stadium, his team’s home turf. Her fans, who call themselves “Swifties,” posted about his appearance on social media.
Kelce and his brother, Jason Kelce, later discussed his appearance at the concert on their podcast “New Heights” and a clip of it was posted to their TikTok account July 26. He said he attended the show and was “butt hurt” that Swift wasn’t able to speak to him prior to her performance.
“If you’re up on Taylor Swift concerts, there are friendship bracelets,” Kelce said. “And I received a bunch of them being there, but I wanted to give Taylor Swift one with my number on it.”
“Your number as in 87, or your phone number?” his brother asked.
“You know which one,” Kelce joked back.
As one Taylor Swift fan account noted Sunday on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, “he had a friendship bracelet and a dream.”
Kelce explained that Swift probably didn’t see anyone in an effort to save her voice, or maybe she just didn’t want to see him. But that was enough to get headlines written and the seed planted in the minds of fans all over the world.
The Kelce brothers keep dropping hints
All was quiet on the Kelce and Swift front for the next few weeks, as she was still completing the first U.S. leg of her tour and released her “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” re-recording. In that time she also announced the upcoming release of “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” during a concert in Los Angeles.
A playful moment dropped Aug. 5, when Chiefs social media did a TikTok video questioning players about their celebrity crushes.
“Mine was…” Kelce pondered.
“Taylor Swift?” his teammate interrupted, causing Kelce to chuckle before moving on.
The cheeky clip was brushed aside by many as mischievous teasing between teammates at the time.
But hints started to drop again at the end of August, through the Kelce brothers’ podcast. The NFL’s preseason had begun and the brothers were discussing Kelce’s annual training camp mustache in their Aug. 31 podcast episode.
“Have you found out what Taylor Swift thinks of your mustache?” his brother asked.
@newheightshowAnyone know how to get a bracelet to @Taylor Swift? … asking for a friend ???? @Buffalo Wild Wings ♬ original sound – New Heights
“Yeah, we’re not going to bring up Taylor Swift in this episode,” Kelce deflected with a chuckle. “But something tells me she’s gonna like it.”
That one-liner was enough to resurface the speculation that maybe Swift and Kelce were seeing each other after her tour schedule slowed down in early August.
Sports broadcasters start digging for more
As the NFL season kicked off Sept. 7, both Kelce and his brother, who plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles, were doing press interviews.
Interviewers did not hold back in using Swift-related puns or asking the brothers directly about the rumors.
On Sept. 15, Jason Kelce appeared for an interview on the Amazon Prime postgame show after his team beat the Minnesota Vikings. NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez asked whether he could comment on whether his brother was dating Swift.
“I’ve seen these rumors; I cannot comment,” the Eagles’ player said.
He then confessed that he “didn’t really know” what was going on but that his brother “is having fun. We’ll see what happens with whoever he ends up with.”
Two days later, Kelce returned to the field for his first game of the season after sitting out for a knee injury. Commentators decided to have some fun when he scored a touchdown, saying he managed to find a “blank space” in the end zone, a reference to the title of one of Swift’s top hits.
Finally, Kelce was asked in an interview on “The Pat McAfee Show” whether the headlines about his personal life bothered him. The Chiefs tight end said he found all the speculation “hilarious,” likening the the entire situation to a childhood game of “telephone.”
“I threw the ball in her court,” Kelce said, setting the record straight. “I told her, I’ve seen you rock a stage in Arrowhead and you might have to come see me rock the stage at Arrowhead. We’ll see what happens in the near future.”
Swift cheers Kelce on, seemingly confirming the rumors
Swift obviously took him up on the offer and showed up to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday to watch Kelce play against the Chicago Bears. She was seen in a private suite with Kelce’s mother, Donna, cheering him on while decked out in Chiefs colors.
The pop superstar was later seen leaving the stadium with Kelce, telling him in a video clip posted to the X that “it was the best.”
Many of Swifts’ fans were simply delighted to see her having a good time at the game, posting jokes all across social media about her enthusiasm, her potential romance and her turning her back on her hometown team, the Eagles.
Her time at the game was given the meme treatment while people also celebrated Kelce as a deviation from previous men in Swift’s life, including former boyfriend Alwyn and her recent interlude with Matt Healy, The 1975’s frontman. Unlike those men, Kelce is American and his career is based in athletics, not the arts.
chicken tenders and ranch then a vodka cran that’s my girl fr like pic.twitter.com/bbiXu2BjYB
— ∘₊✧ liz ✧₊∘ (@allstoowelI) September 24, 2023
this feels like when your boy in high school claimed a hot girl from a couple schools over was going to the dance with him and she actually showed up pic.twitter.com/znZZV1ekyh
— will defries (@willdefries) September 24, 2023
travis pointing the arrow towards her as he runs on to the field is my roman empire pic.twitter.com/jXvWAuaQFC
— ???????????????????? ♡ (@tayvisnation) September 24, 2023
What a year pic.twitter.com/b2PtfMgbJ5
— Ryne Bailey (@ryanbailey25) September 24, 2023
Swift is a record-breaking musician at the height of her fame this year, and Kelce is a two-time Super Bowl champion, so it’s unsurprising that it would be difficult for them to get to know each other privately.
“Also reminder that casual dating is a thing even for celebrities — going on a date or two does not make anyone official,” one fan wrote on X.
Others also chimed in, saying they didn’t care whether the relationship was serious but that it was nice to see Swift “having fun.”
It’s unclear exactly how far their relationship has progressed by the time Swift showed up at the game Sunday.