Travis Kelce was a star for the Kansas City Chiefs, a two-time Super Bowl champion, before he began dating Taylor Swift. But even he admitted the extra attention on him from paparazzi and millions of others has been an adjustment.
Despite all the off-the-field spotlight, Kelce’s production on the field has shined bright.
His mother, Donna Kelce, who has become a household name this year after her sons – the elder is Jason Kelce of the Philadelphia Eagles – reached the Super Bowl, isn’t surprised that Travis has taken the added pressure in stride.
"Travis is the type of individual where if you’re going to say that he’s not good enough, or that he’ll not be able to handle it, it just pushes him more," Donna Kelce told Fox News Digital while discussing her new partnership with Barefoot Wines, the official wine sponsor of the NFL. "It’s a fire within him to prove everyone wrong.
"Because there were some people saying he’s not going to be able to handle the season, he’s not going to be a good football player. But it turns out that the more that he is pushed or challenged, he takes it to a new level."
There was a group that believed Kelce’s relationship with Swift would impact how he plays for the Chiefs, but the 34-year-old is enjoying quite the season thus far, even with Kansas City dropping its latest game against the Denver Broncos.
No, Swift wasn’t present for this one, and the Chiefs certainly heard it from fans in the stands and on social media. The Broncos even took a jab at the relationship when they played Swift’s songs over the loudspeakers at Highmark Stadium in Denver after their 24-9 victory.
But Kelce still had a decent day with 58 yards on six catches (nine targets). The week prior, he exploded against their AFC West-rival Los Angeles Chargers, totaling 179 yards (second-most of his career) on 12 catches with a touchdown.
Even after a down week by his standards, Kelce is leading all tight ends in the NFL in receiving yards (583) and receptions (54), and is tied second in touchdowns (4). He’s done so while also dealing with injuries, including a knee bone bruise that led to him missing Week 1’s opener against the Detroit Lions.
Kelce admitted it’s been taking some getting used to with the extra media attention. He should also be aware that his fans have skyrocketed due to the relationship, too, as "Swifties" collectively want Kelce to perform well each week.
His social media has been seeing tremendous gains in followers because of his relationship, too. Kelce gained over 1.1 million followers on Instagram since Swift’s first appearance at a Chiefs game – Kansas City’s 41-10 beatdown of the Chicago Bears. The number continues to grow.
Again, Kelce isn’t new to stardom. But there are levels to being a celebrity, and Swift’s notoriety was certainly above his prior to them becoming an item.
But that hasn’t stopped Kelce from dominating on the gridiron while enjoying himself off it. And coming from his mother, who has seen him face adversity and challenge all his life, it’s no surprise he continues to impact the Chiefs on a weekly basis.