Now that Taylor Swift has single-handedly taken over the NFL, there’s been plenty of chatter about her stadium appearances in support of her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. And while Swifties are loving spotting her as she’s cheering for her man, it turns out that the pop culture/sports crossover event of the season is bringing football dads and their daughters closer together.
Connecticut dad Keith Stoeckeler told TODAY his 7-year-old daughter Emme has become a football fan because of Swift, and now the Chiefs games are “appointment viewing” in his household. Of the pop superstar’s appearances, he said, “For me, it felt like the Super Bowl, which would be the only other time that anybody would remotely want to sit down and watch football with me. It was appointment viewing. It was not just ‘Oh, OK, football’s on. We’ll watch it with you. We want to watch that.’”
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Though Swift herself claimed to have no idea whether or not she was being shown on TV, telling TIME last month that she has “no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads,” dads are now leaning into the spectacle of it all, enjoying the bonding moments with their Swift-loving daughters.
In a now-viral post on X (formerly Twitter), football fan Kevin Van Valkenburg—who formerly covered the NFL for ESPN for over a decade—gushed about the newfound bond he’s enjoyed with his teen daughter. “I actually feel bad for the Brads, Chads and Angry Dads who spent the year complaining about Taylor Swift interrupting their football,” he wrote. “I spent the season trading Swift/Kelce memes with my 14-year-old daughter (who previously didn’t care about football) and now it’s like a fun thing we share?” He called the phenomenon “freaking awesome,” adding that his daughter “loves” that he’s met Travis’ brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce.
Van Valkenburg has even gotten emotional over his daughter’s love of Swift, telling Vogue, “I like being a girl dad a lot, and I like talking to them about stuff that’s a crossover between our worlds.” Upon dropping her off at the movie theater to watch the Eras Tour movie, he added, “I remember watching her run through the rain in her 1989 outfit and I started tearing up. My girl’s growing up, and this person speaks to her… of course I should listen to this music, because it’s a way for me to understand my own kid better.”
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Other dads are a little more stern in their criticism of the Swift/Kelce pushback. One dad went viral on TikTok, issuing an impassioned plea with his fellow men over their nonsense.
“A word of advice for all the dads out there, especially all the girl dads, the dads of teenage girls,” John R. said in the clip. “This whole thing with Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift. You need to embrace it. You really do. Stop fighting it. Stop being a jerk about it. Stop saying that she’s a distraction. All of that. Embrace it.”
“It’s gonna be good for your relationship with your daughter,” he concluded.