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Super Bowl LVIII Player Focus: Is Taylor Swift Bringing Out the Best in Travis Kelce This Season? 

Taylor Swift Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs
Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates with Taylor Swift after a 17-10 victory against the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 28, 2024. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Travis Kelce only spent the last year beating his brother in a Super Bowl, shooting his shot with Taylor Swift, falling in love, and rebounding from the slowest season of his career to finish strong and lead the Kansas City Chiefs right back to Super Bowl LVIII.

Not bad for a 34-year-old tight end in the decline stage of his career. Kelce is thriving, and if the scriptwriters really want to throw the conspiracy theorists for a loop, they would end this next game with him becoming the first tight end to win Super Bowl MVP and proposing to Swift on the field.

Slow Start

But things have not always been gravy for Kelce this year, who opened the season sidelined by an injury sustained in practice. He didn’t break 1,000 receiving yards for the 1st time since 2015, and the Chiefs lost more games (6) this year than they had in any previous season with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback.

And now, here they are in another Super Bowl, and they will have a good chance to win it with Kelce playing the way he has. It cannot hurt to have Swift in the stands cheering him along too as he looks to make more history. Nor the fact that the Chiefs are the underdogs, according to the NFL odds.

Let’s look back at how Kelce’s season has gone, especially in the catches and yards department, with his blossoming relationship with Swift leading him to the Super Bowl again.


Week 2 at Jaguars

Kelce said on his podcast that he saw Taylor Swift in a concert this year and he wanted her to come to a game to see him do his thing. There was no official relationship yet at this point, and Kelce was just trying to get his season going after having to miss Week 1.

While Kelce caught a touchdown in Jacksonville, he only had 4 catches for 26 yards, so he didn’t hit his averages in this game.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 76.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: Yes

Week 3 vs. Bears

Curiosity got the best of Swift, and she was at this game, her debut for the season. The Chiefs had a very easy blowout win against a bad Chicago team, and Kelce did his share to put on a show with 7 catches for 69 yards and another score. Nice start.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 70.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: Yes

Week 4 at Jets

Swift was taking in the Sunday night game, and Kelce had a tough matchup with a very good New York secondary and pass defense. But he still managed to catch 6 balls for 60 yards, which is a hair below an average game for him.

The Chiefs were able to get the win, and they would have scored 30 points if Mahomes hadn’t pulled up on a late run with time running out.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 72.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 5 at Vikings

Watching this in real time was surreal as it looked like Kelce suffered a season-ending injury in Minnesota, a game without Swift in attendance. Kelce slammed his helmet not long after he crumbled to the ground during a drive before halftime.

Incredibly, he returned to finish that game with 10 catches for 67 yards and a score. He didn’t miss another full game for injury the rest of the season, but that was a scary moment for sure as the Chiefs would have been in bad shape if they lost their only reliable receiver. Rookie wideout Rashee Rice needed a couple of months to get on track in this offense, so it was Kelce or bust.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 79.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 7.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 6 vs. Broncos

Perhaps feeling like his good luck charm, Taylor was back in the home crowd for a Thursday night game with the Broncos. Kelce put on a big show for her as he caught all 9 of his targets for 124 yards.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 64.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 7 vs. Chargers

Kelce was in the zone at this portion of the season. He caught 12-of-13 targets for 179 yards and another score in his most dominant game of the year against a bad Chargers defense he is used to owning.

Swift got her money’s worth that day as the Chiefs dropped 31 points in the win.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 76.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 8 at Broncos

Alas, another week where Swift did not attend and the Chiefs faltered badly with 5 turnovers and a 15-point loss that ended their 16-game winning streak against rival Denver.

It didn’t help that Mahomes had the flu that week, but this game was a mess all around. Kelce was quiet for his standards with 6 catches for 58 yards, and the Chiefs never found the end zone once.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 77.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 9 vs. Dolphins

With this game hosted in Germany, that did not fit Swift’s schedule. It didn’t fit anyone’s schedule who likes to sleep into noon on a Sunday, but here we were watching this highly anticipated game early in the morning in the States, and it was an offensive dud.

Kelce had his weakest game of the season with 3 catches for 14 yards. The Chiefs held on to win thanks to their defense, which would become a theme several times this year.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 79.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 7.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 11 vs. Eagles

It was always assumed that Taylor would be in the crowd for this big Monday night game since the Eagles were reportedly her favorite team before this Kelce relationship. But she was not there, and the Chiefs blew a lead for the 2nd time in the season.

Kelce also had his biggest mistake of the season as he fumbled in the red zone in the 4th quarter. Kelce caught 7 balls, but the gains were limited to only 44 yards, his 3rd-straight game under 60 yards.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 75.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 7.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 12 at Raiders

This was the week where the Chiefs finally started to refocus their offense around their best players in Kelce, Isiah Pacheco, and Rashee Rice. Kelce stepped up with 6 catches for 91 yards and looked good despite Taylor not showing up for the 4th game in a row.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 71.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 13 at Packers

Taylor returned, but the Chiefs still made too many mistakes, and the defense decided to play its worst game of the year as Jordan Love had a hot night. Kelce had 81 yards but only 4 catches.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 70.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 14 vs. Bills

Thanks to another mistake by Kadarius Toney, Kelce was denied the play of the year when his lateral back to Toney that likely produces the winning touchdown was called back for Toney lining up offsides.

Offensive offsides is a penalty that has literally been called 0 times for the whole league in multiple recent seasons, but we were reminded of its existence thanks to Toney that day. Kelce’s great play is just a footnote, and it was starting to not look like the Chiefs’ year.

Kelce had 6 catches for 83 yards that day, but it’s that play that set off a firestorm in Kansas City even if it was the right call.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 68.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 15 at Patriots

The Chiefs had a forgettable win in New England, but Swift showed her devotion by going to this game. Who else would want to see Bailey Zappe play football for the worst New England team under Bill Belichick?

But if we are just being honest, Kelce looked bad in this game as he caught 5 balls for 28 yards and was too slow in the redzone to make an impact on a couple of plays.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 66.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 6.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 16 vs. Raiders

The Raiders came to play and to fight for interim coach Antonio Pierce while the Chiefs looked too content as a heavy favorite at home on Christmas. Swift was there in her Christmas outfit, but it was a sad performance to watch as Mahomes coughed up a couple of turnovers for defensive touchdowns in 7 seconds, and that was enough for the Raiders to hang on for the shocking win.

Kelce had 5 catches for 44 yards, but he also had a couple of early drops. People started blaming Swift around this point for being a distraction to the team and the reason they were struggling. But they still had time to right the ship.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 66.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 5.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Week 17 vs. Bengals

Once again, the Chiefs were down double digits early, but they were able to shake it off and Mahomes hit some key deep completions. None of them went to Kelce, who finished with just 3 catches for 16 yards against arguably the worst defense against tight ends in 2023. It was Kelce’s 3rd-straight underwhelming game.

But it was enough for the Chiefs to win, clinch the No. 3 seed in the AFC, and they rested Kelce and other key starters in Week 18. They really needed that rest and it might be a key factor in explaining why they’ve looked better in the postseason.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 66.5 Yards: Under
  • Total Receptions O/U 5.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Wild Card vs. Dolphins

The temperature was under 0 degrees, making this the 4th-coldest playoff game in NFL history. But the fact that Taylor braved those elements shows she really does love him and might even enjoy football itself as the Chiefs started to play better offense.

The defense was lights out and held high-scoring Miami to just 7 points. The Chiefs won another playoff game and Kelce was strong with 7 catches for 71 yards.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 57.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 5.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: No
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

Divisional Round vs. Bills

Kelce had to step up and end a 7-game drought without a touchdown, which tied the longest drought in his career. He did just that with 2 touchdown catches, which set his brother off in the suite with Swift as he took off his shirt and hogged the cameras away from the most famous woman on Earth.

But it was Kelce’s day as he finished with 5 catches for 75 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Chiefs looked as good on offense as they had all season.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 62.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 5.5: Under
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: No
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

AFC Championship Game vs. Ravens

Kelce was facing the No. 1 defense, but he was arguably the MVP of the game if they gave out an award like that. From the opening drive, you could see he brought his best with Swift in the audience. He converted a 4th-down catch, then caught a touchdown against All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton to put the Ravens behind early.

Kelce finished with 11 catches on 11 targets for 116 yards. He also dropped the most memorable speech at the podium as the Chiefs were heading back to the Super Bowl.

Kelce’s Props Results

  • Total Receiving Yards O/U 63.5 Yards: Over
  • Total Receptions O/U 5.5: Over
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Yes
  • Player To Score First Touchdown: Yes
  • Player To Score Last Touchdown: No

The Swift-Kelce Splits

For those wanting to keep track, here are the 2023 splits in averages for Kelce in the 12 games Swift attended and the 6 games she missed:

  • Kelce with Taylor Swift (12 games): 9-3 record, 8.3 targets, 6.7 catches, 78.8 receiving yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game.
  • Kelce without Taylor Swift (6 games): 4-2 record, 8.2 targets, 6.0 catches, 50.0 receiving yards, and 0.5 touchdowns per game.

Kelce has been held under 68.5 yards in 5-of-6 games without Swift present.

Swift has been to 8 of Kelce’s 9 most productive games in receiving yards this season, including 6-of-7 times he reached 75 yards.

The targets are almost identical, but when Taylor is there, Kelce does catch a higher rate of passes and most notably for 28.8 more yards per game, a big increase. His touchdowns haven’t been better with her there, but a lot of that is because of the 7-game drought late in the year. He is scoring like crazy again this postseason.


Kelce’s Matchup in Super Bowl LVIII vs. 49ers

Kelce’s lines for the Super Bowl are roughly over/under 70.5 yards and 6.5 receptions He has only cleared both lines in 4-of-18 games this year, and Swift happened to be there for all of them as half of them just happened in the playoffs.

Kelce is playing his best right now, and the Chiefs are going to move the ball on this defense, which has not been playing at a high level for several weeks now. The 49ers just allowed Detroit rookie tight end Sam LaPorta to catch 9 passes for 97 yards in the NFC Championship Game.

Tight ends Trey McBride of the Cardinals (10 catches for 102 yards) and T.J. Hockenson of the Vikings (11 catches for 86 yards) also had big numbers like this against the 49ers this year.

The Chiefs are usually strong after having an extra week to prepare, and Kelce was the first touchdown scorer in last year’s Super Bowl. He also caught a touchdown against the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

Kelce is going to leave his mark on this game, and it could be the most memorable night of his career if everything breaks right for him. Lately, he has been winning on and off the field, so it would be surprising at this point if things didn’t go his way.

Maybe the only person having a better year, from last year’s Super Bowl to this one, is Taylor Swift.

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