ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Defends Taylor Swift Amid Criticism Over Her Presence at NFL Games

ESPN sports analyst Stephen A. Smith addressed the criticism Taylor Swift has received from NFL fans on the Jan. 10 episode of First Take.

By Olivia Evans Jan 10, 2024 10:12 PMTags
Watch: Stephen A. Smith SLAMS Taylor Swift Haters

At least someone in the sports world understands that Taylor Swift is doing things much greater than dating the boy on the football team. 

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith recently told off the Dads, Brads, and Chads who have been hate, hate, hating on the singer for the camera attention she gets from the NFL while attending Kansas City Chiefs games to support her boyfriend Travis Kelce

"I have to take a moment to come to the defense of Taylor Swift," he said on the Jan. 10 episode of ESPN's First Take. "Everybody is sitting up there and acting like she's some kind of impediment. She did her job. That Eras Tour? Off the chain—generated billions." 

The sports journalist—whose comments come just days after Jo Koy's now infamous joke about Taylor's NFL game attendance fell flat at the Golden Globes—even revealed that he attended a "phenomenal" night of the nominee's latest tour himself. 

Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift: Why Their Romance Works

"I see these kids, they absolutely love her," he continued. "She did her job. She's going to support her dude to show up at a football game and the camera is on her—that ain't her fault."

Smith added that the "Karma" singer's appearances at nine games so far this season have not positively affected her own career when it comes to ticket sales.

"She went to the games after the concerts," he declared (the initial United States leg of the Eras Tour ended last August, but the phenomenon will return in October). "It's not like she used the games to bump up the concerts. Oh no. Those kids were going to her concerts whether the NFL was promoting her or not." 

And while Smith received some flack from his fellow First Take hosts for trying to get free tickets from the "Bejeweled" singer, he doubled down. 

"Taylor Swift is that girl," he finished. "Let's show some respect. She's probably going to have a positive impact on Travis Kelce's performance."

Buda Mendes/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

The stats haven't lied so far on that take, but the "Anti-Hero" singer appears to be enjoying her newfound hobby of being cheer captain—from the bleachers—even when her man loses. 

"Football is awesome, it turns out," the 12-time Grammy winner told TIME in an article published last month. "I've been missing out my whole life."

Read on for some of Taylor's best NFL moments and looks.

NFL Debut

While supporting Travis Kelce as the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 24, her first-ever NFL game at Arrowhead Stadium, Taylor Swift sported DÔEN's white Lois Tank and Ksubi's distressed denim shorts, which she paired with a Chiefs windbreaker and matching New Balance sneakers.

Welcome to New Jersey

For the Chiefs' Oct. 1 game against the New York Jets, held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, Taylor wore Area's denim shorts, which quickly sold out. The singer completed the look with Christian Louboutin boots and Gant's relaxed leather shirt.

Classic Swift

And Taylor couldn't forget her signature red lip for the star-studded game.

Erin Andrews Assist

For the Chiefs' Oct. 12 game, where she spent time with Travis' dad Ed Kelce, Taylor wore a Chiefs jacket from WEAR, a line by Erin Andrews (who Travis has credited for connecting him with Taylor).

Suite Style

Taylor, who also spent time with quarterback Patrick Mahomes' wife Brittany Mahomes at the game, sported a Balenciaga corset top underneath the Chiefs jacket.

She's Got His Number

Taylor had an extra special accessory on her wrist for the Chiefs' Oct. 22 game: An Erimish bracelet with Travis' jersey number on it.

Are You Ready For It?

...we can't calm down.

Red Hot

Taylor sported a long red fleece jacket over a black high neck top, paired with her signature red lip.

Crimson Chic

The singer was all smiles as she watched the game with Brittany Mahomes.

New Year's Eve Varsity Style

For her ninth Chiefs game, Taylor sported a cream varsity jacket bearing the team's logo and a patch that read "Tay-Tay."

Game No. 10

During a freezing Kansas City Chiefs-Miami Dolphins Game in Kansas City, Mo., Taylor cheers on her boyfriend and his team while wearing a custom-made puffer coat made to look like a Kelce Chiefs jersey, designed by Kristin Juszczyk, wife of San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk.