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Every Time Taylor Swift Used Sports Metaphors in Her Songs — Before and After Meeting Travis Kelce

Every Time Taylor Swift Used Sports Metaphors in Her Songs Before and After Meeting Travis Kelce
Taylor Swift David Eulitt/Getty Images

Taylor Swift became a bonafide sports fan after she started dating NFL star Travis Kelce in summer 2023.

“Football is awesome, it turns out,” Swift quipped to TIME in her December 2023 Person of the Year profile. “I’ve been missing out my whole life.”

Rooting for Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, even seemingly inspired Swift as she wrote The Tortured Poets Department: The Anthology.

“These blokes warm the benches / We’ve been on a winning streak,” she sings on “The Alchemy,” which was released in April 2023. “He jokes that ‘It’s heroin, but this time with an E’ / ‘Cause the sign on your heart / Said it’s still reserved for me.”

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Swift went to 13 (coincidentally, her lucky number) of Kelce’s NFL games during the 2023-2024 season, including Super Bowl LVIII in February 2024. After the Chiefs won the championship, Swift greeted him on the field with a kiss and proclaimed that she had “never” seen anything like the game outcome. Kelce, meanwhile, has frequently asserted that he’s just grateful for her tireless support — even flying for 13 hours across oceans to make it in time.

While fans gushed over Swift’s first musical allusion to Kelce on TTPD, it isn’t the only time she’s mentioned sports in verse. Us Weekly revisits the pop star’s sportiest lyrics below:

‘Fifteen’ (Fearless)

“Well, in your life you’ll do things / Greater than dating the boy on the football team / I didn’t know it at fifteen.”

While Swift told her best friend Abigail Anderson that she would be better off without the high school football star at the time, the Grammy winner’s romance with Kelce later proved she could have both.

Every Time Taylor Swift Used Sports Metaphors in Her Songs Before and After Meeting Travis Kelce
Taylor Swift Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

‘You Belong With Me’ (Fearless)

“She’s cheer captain / and I’m on the bleachers.”

This “You Belong With Me” lyric, as well as its football-coded music video, says it all.

‘Mean’ (Speak Now)

“And I can see you years from now in a bar / Talking over a football game / With that same big, loud opinion / But nobody’s listening.”

In “Mean,” Swift’s critics are blasting her career while watching a game on TV.

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‘Long Live’ (Speak Now)

“I said remember this feeling / I passed the pictures around / Of all the years that we stood there on the sidelines / Wishing for right now.”

“We are the kings and the queens / You traded your baseball cap for a crown / When they gave us our trophies / And we held them up for our town.”

“Long Live” has taken on a new life as Swift started dating Kelce, who did win the big championship trophy and held it up at the postgame celebration on the field.

‘Stay Stay Stay’ (Red)

“This morning I said we should talk about it / ‘Cause I read you should never leave a fight unresolved / That’s when you came in wearing a football helmet / And said, ‘OK, let’s talk.’”

While “Stay Stay Stay” is not about sports per se, Swit’s then-boyfriend did wear athletic equipment during a fight.

‘Blank Space’ (1989)

“’Cause you know I love the players / And you love the game.”

The lyric took on a new meaning when Swift pointed at Kelce, a pro football player, when he came to see her Eras Tour concert abroad.

‘End Game’ (Reputation)

“I wanna be your endgame / I wanna be your first string / I wanna be your A-Team.”

It certainly didn’t hurt that “End Game” was the very first surprise song that Kelce heard when he went to Swift’s show in Argentina.

‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ (Reputation)

“Jump into the pool from the balcony / Everyone swimmin’ in a champagne sea.”

Swimming is a sport too, let Us remind you.

Every Time Taylor Swift Used Sports Metaphors in Her Songs Before and After Meeting Travis Kelce
Taylor Swift Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

‘Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince’ (Lover)

“Now I’m feeling hopeless, ripped up my prom dress / Running through rose thorns, I saw the scoreboard / And ran for my life.”

Scoreboards are an integral part of sporting events to keep track of points.

‘London Boy’ (Lover)

“You can find me in the pub, we are watching rugby with his school friends.”

“London Boy,” notably penned about Swift’s life across the pond with now-ex Joe Alwyn, reminisced about what it was like for her to become a rugby fan.

‘Afterglow’ (Lover)

“Fighting with a true love is boxing with no gloves / Chemistry ’til it blows up, ’til there’s no us.”

While Swift’s sports of choice in her lyrics are primarily football and baseball, boxing gets its due in the Lover ballad.

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‘Willow’ (Folklore)

“Like you were a trophy or a champion ring / And there was one prize I’d cheat to win.”

Many athletes, like Kelce, get trophies or championship rings when they win a big game. (Here’s hoping they just don’t lose them like Travis’ brother, Jason Kelce, at an April 2023 taping of his “New Heights” podcast.)

‘Cowboy Like Me’ (Evermore)

“And the tennis court was covered up / With some tent-like thing / And you asked me to dance / But I said, ‘Dancing is a dangerous game.’”

The Evermore track has two sports metaphors for the price of one.

‘Only the Young’ 

“You did all that you could do / The game was rigged, the ref got tricked.”

The single from Swift’s Netflix documentary, Miss Americana, name-drops a referee.

‘The Alchemy’ (The Tortured Poets Department)

“So when I touch down / Call the amateurs and cut ’em from the team / Ditch the clowns, get the crown.”

“Shirts off and your friends lift you up over their heads / Beer stickin’ to the floor, cheers chanted ’cause they said. There was no chance trying to be the greatest in the league. Where’s the trophy? He just comes runnin’ over to me.”

Swift has watched Travis score multiple impressive touchdowns (and countless other passes) when she attended his football games. Plus, Swift notably chugged a beer while watching Travis in February 2024’s Super Bowl. Us also notes that Swift watched Jason rip off his shirt during one of Travis’ playoff games weeks earlier.

Every Time Taylor Swift Used Sports Metaphors in Her Songs Before and After Meeting Travis Kelce
Taylor Swift Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

‘So High School’ (The Tortured Poets Department)

“You know how to ball / I know Aristotle.”

Later in the song, Swift also mentions “laughing in the middle of practice.” (Early in her romance with Travis, she would secretly visit him at the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium during team practices.)

What Is the Best Song on Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department?’

Bonus: ‘Karma’ (Midnights at The Eras Tour)

“Karma is the guy on the Chiefs / Coming straight home to me.”

While “Karma” technically did not feature any athletic allusions when Midnights came out in 2022, Swift shook the world during her Eras Tour performance in Argentina. Instead of singing, “Karma is the guy on the screen / coming straight home to me,” Swift traded the word “screen” for “Chiefs.” And, in case you forgot, Travis was in the audience and was spotted blushing at the shout-out.

The Tortured Poets Department is out now.

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