Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.
Imagine the small talk on their first date.
Taylor: “Travis. You’re so big and strong. Tell me, what it’s like to play in a Super Bowl?”
Travis: “There’s nothing like it, Taylor. Millions of people watching all around the world. Tremendous pressure. Let me tell you, when you come home to Kansas City and hold up that Lombardi Trophy for your fans at the parade … I mean, you’ve never heard such cheering.”
Taylor: “Yes, I have.”
This conversation, or something just like it, actually took place between Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe when they honeymooned in Japan in 1954. Marilyn made a side trip to entertain US troops in Korea, performing 10 shows in four days before more than 100,000 American soldiers.
Esquire’s Gay Talese famously recounted the post-tour exchange with Marilyn saying, “It was wonderful, Joe. You never heard such cheering,” only to have the great DiMaggio remind her, “Yes, I have.”
Joe and Marilyn forever will be America’s all-time sports/entertainment celebrity power couple. Tom and Gisele might be second.
And now we have Taylor and Travis (maybe).
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight: Travis Kelce is no Joe DiMaggio. He’s not even close to Tom Brady. Kelce once hosted “Saturday Night Live” and had his own reality dating show (“Catching Kelce”) back in 2016, but he’s not the real famous one in this star pairing. Taylor Swift is the Beatles. Travis Kelce is Yoko. And the sight of Taylor sitting with Ma Kelce at the Chiefs-Bears game in Kansas City Sunday lit the internet on fire.
A video of Swift and Kelce walking out of the stadium together after the game went viral. A photo of Swift in the Arrowhead suite was splashed across the front page of Monday’s New York Post. Norah O’Donnell featured the couple on “The CBS Evening News,” and the History Channel made note of the seismic event.
“Entertainment Tonight” reported that Taylor and Travis took over a swank KC restaurant/club for family and teammates and dined and danced till 2 a.m. Even Bill Belichick weighed in, telling WEEI, “Travis Kelce has had a lot of big catches in his career. This would be the biggest.”
It’s hard to overstate the magnitude of Swift. Try this: In 2011, a Marshawn Lynch playoff touchdown triggered a small tremor on the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network near the Seahawks’ home stadium. Swift’s shows at the same venue in July caused continuous seismic activity for an entire 3½-hour program. Bigger and longer than the “Beast Quake.”
Even her condiments matter. A Twitter description of Swift at Arrowhead “eating a piece of chicken with ketchup and seemingly ranch” is all the rage. “Seemingly Ranch” probably will be the name of a podcast soon.
Former Globe Patriots reporter Nora Princiotti, now a football/Swift expert for The Ringer, is dubious about the true nature of the Swift-Kelce relationship, suggesting it may involve career enhancement. She knows way too much about the all-knowing fan cult of “Swifties” and is working on a book about 2000 pop stars titled “Please Don’t Stop The Music.”
“Swifties and football fans may represent the two largest and most powerful forces in American popular entertainment,” Princiotti wrote Monday.
She thinks the Swifties could change the NFL.
“By Sunday afternoon, several [Swiftie] fan accounts were already displaying a sounder understanding of situational football than Josh McDaniels … [NFL] officials could be memed into making only perfect calls … Every one of Roger Goodell’s burner accounts will be discovered … Swifties could fix the Jets offense.”
On and on it goes. Imagine if Swift (who has an apartment in Tribeca) appears in MetLife Stadium when the Jets play host to the Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football”?
Sports stars and famous models/entertainers go together like peas and carrots. Brady married supermodel Gisele Bundchen in 2009, and for 13 blissful years Tom and Super G were the sports/fashion power against which all others were measured. They made sports fans familiar with the Met Gala.
Before marrying Gisele, Tom dated actress Tara Reid and had a son with actress Bridget Moynahan. Since divorcing, Tom has been linked with supermodel Irina Shayk.
Alex Rodriguez was rumored to be dating Madonna when he played for the Yankees and was engaged to Jennifer Lopez before breaking up after a four-year relationship. Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is married to model/actress Kate Upton, and Dwyane Wade is married to Gabrielle Union. Let’s not forget David and (Spice Girl) Victoria Beckham, and Russell Wilson and Ciara.
Stars find other stars. International supermodel Iman was married to NBA star Spencer Haywood before she divorced and married David Bowie. Lakers guard Norm Nixon is married to actress Debbie Allen, sister of Phylicia Rashad (Cosby’s TV wife), who was the wife of Ahmad Rashad, former Vikings receiver and TV sports guy. NBA power forward Kris Humphries was divorced from Kim Kardashian when he played for the Celtics in 2013-14.
And let’s not forget Derek Jeter, who dated a galaxy of pop/movie stars (Mariah Carey and Minka Kelly to name two) before settling down and raising a family with Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover girl Hannah Davis.
But Taylor and Travis? There has never been anything like this.
Not since Joe and Marilyn anyway.