It wasn’t just Taylor Swift’s name trending as Super Bowl LVIII featured her boyfriend Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the San Francisco 49ers as fans both complained about and called for the broadcast to “Show Taylor Swift.”
Even before the Super Bowl LVIII kickoff, Taylor Swift had appeared twice during the broadcast, including one shot of her jamming along to Post Malone’s “America the Beautiful” with pals Ice Spice and Blake Lively. With every appearance, social media got more and more worked up.
As Swift made her way to Las Vegas from her final Tokyo show ahead of the game, the conspiracy theories on social media were reaching a tipping point. From an orchestrated Kansas City win to Travis Kelce proposing on the field to Swift publicly endorsing Joe Biden, it just got more and more elaborate.
During every KC game that she was at once they started dating, every Swift appearance only further infuriated this certain segment of social media — which in turn delighted their opposite. After all, in a country more divided than ever, it’s just about the next thing we can be divided on.
Even when she appeared for less than a minute of total screen time across a three-plus hour game, the narrative was that Swift was always on the screen as part of some “woke” agenda. Honesty, it didn’t make much sense, which is why it so delighted their opposites online.
Hilariously, during the Super Bowl and amid expected trending names like Usher, Mahomes, Kelce and others, it wasn’t Swift’s name along that was trending, it was “Show Taylor Swift.” That says so much about why people were talking about her.
The haters were getting frustrated every time the broadcast opted to “Show Taylor Swift,” feeding into their paranoid conspiracy theory that somehow goes all the way up to the White House. On the other side, they were hoping the broadast would “Show Taylor Swift” so the paranoid folks would go crazy online.
It’s a vicious cycle, but what else would you expect from something happening online. It can also be pretty entertaining. After all, this is just a young woman rooting on her boyfriend. Families and girlfriends are showed all the time when big moments happen with their loved on. Swift is just a whole, whole lot more famous than them.
At the same time, Swift’s appearances have actually helped the NFL by expanding the demographics of who’s tuning in, boosting merchandise sales and getting people excited about it.
Plus, this is one of the most famous people on the planet attending these games … of course you’d turn the camera on them. And we don’t remember such an outcry every time Gisele Bündchen showed up during Tom Brady’s era.
The most common refrain is to say they’re going to play a drinking game and take a shot every time Swift is show with the joke being that they’re going to quickly pass out. As it turned out, when KC was quiet in the game, they didn’t cut to Swift much at all (i.e., the entire first half).
In the end, the Chiefs did pull out the win, marking their third in five years and back-to-back victories. While the conspiracists might take this as fuel to their theories, it could also mean KC has been a good team for years before Swift and Kelce even began dating.
Also, Swift did not join Kelce up on the platform with the rest of the Chiefs leaders. We did get an extended shot of her congratulating and smooching Swift after he came down (and called her “babygirl”), but it was one of several shots with loved ones — albeit notably longer. But no endorsements or proposals or proclamations at all (though she may love him).
Maybe someday, everyone will look back on all this “Show Taylor Swift” outrage and laugh about it all. In the meantime, we’re going to laugh about it right now.