Feb 11, 2024; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) hugs recording artist Taylor Swift after winning Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

You could see the takes coming from a mile away.

As the Kansas City Chiefs stumbled throughout the second half of the regular season, suffering five losses in an eight-game span, it was only a matter of time until people blamed the defending Super Bowl champion’s struggles on Travis Kelce’s relationship with Taylor Swift. Never mind that the Chiefs had already all but locked up the AFC West and that there were legitimate explanations for their lackluster regular season performance. Surely, Kansas City’s troubles could be attributed to its star tight end having a super famous girlfriend.

The takes from the usual suspects (and even some not-so-usual suspects) didn’t disappoint, with the anti-Swift sentiment reaching a crescendo following the Chiefs’ Christmas Day loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

“Feels like it’s about time to call Taylor Swift a distraction,” Skip Bayless wrote on X. “What do you think, Patrick? Andy? How about you, Travis?”

Predictably, Outkick’s Clay Travis used the opportunity to blame the Chiefs’ alleged downfall on not just Swift, but also on Kelce being a spokesperson for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“The Chiefs are not a good football team and Travis Kelce looks like he should retire,” Travis wrote. “He’s been worthless the last seven or eight weeks. The double worthless Pfizer shots may have caught up with him. Either that or Taylor Swift is the Chiefs Yoko Ono. Maybe both.”

Nailed it.

Apparently, the criticism of Swift was a bipartisan issue, as even political commentator/former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod joined in on the bad faith blaming.

At some point it has to be asked: is Taylor Swift killing the [Chiefs]?” asked Axelrod on X during a game Kansas City wound up winning.

And just as Jon “Stugotz” Weiner predicted they would, even Chiefs fans were quick to turn on Kelce and Swift.

And yet, despite not only not getting a first-round bye, but also having to play the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens on the road, there the Chiefs were on Sunday night, celebrating their third Super Bowl championship in the last five years. At the center of Kansas City’s celebration was its All-Pro tight end — who recorded a game-high nine catches for 93 yards — and his superstar girlfriend, who had arrived in Las Vegas just hours earlier following four sold out shows at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

Did things look hairy for the Chiefs at certain points this season? Of course. After all, there’s a reason (or reasons) why they were underdogs in their final three playoff games. And despite winning the Super Bowl, there are reasonable concerns about the state of Kansas City’s roster, including how much it relies on Kelce, who at 34-years-old, is understandably on the backside of his career.

But the idea that any of the Chiefs’ struggles had anything to do with who their star tight end was dating was misguided at best and sexist at worst. But when all was said and done, as is often the case, it was Swift who had the last laugh on Sunday night.

How’s that for a Love Story?

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.