That’s how many times NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” cut away to shots of Taylor Swift watching rumored boyfriend Travis Kelce and the Kansas City Chiefs play the New York Jets with a slew of famous friends in a luxury suite at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
That’s a lot. Too much for some NFL fans, who have started expressing displeasure over the amount of attention the league and its broadcasters have been giving the “ME!” singer this season.
Kelce and his older brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, addressed the topic Wednesday on their weekly “New Heights” podcast.
And, yes, they agree — the NFL is “overdoing it” with its Swift coverage.
Jason initiated the discussion, asking his brother his “honest opinion” on “how the NFL is treating celebrities at games,” while reminding him to “take away your feelings for Taylor” when considering his answer (the last part got a big laugh from Travis).
“I think it’s fun when they show who all is at the game, you know?” Travis Kelce said. “I think it brings a little more to the atmosphere, brings a little bit more to what you’re watching. But at the same time, I think, uh …”
Jason jumped in and said, “They’re overdoing it.”
Travis responded: “They’re overdoing it a little bit, for sure. Especially my situation.”
Jason offered a tip for the seemingly starstruck NFL.
“I just think the NFL is not used to celebrities coming to the games,” he said. “Like basketball has it all figured out. They’re all courtside, they’re sitting there. They show ‘em once or twice, but then they get back to the game. NFL’s like, ‘Look at all these A-list celebrities at the game! Keep showing ‘em, show ‘em!’ Listen, you show ‘em once, let [us] know they’re there, maybe after a touchdown, you get a little clip. But you can’t be overboard with it.”
The brothers discussed Front Office Sports’ count of 17 cutaways to Swift, Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Hugh Jackman and others enjoying the game from their suite (for perspective, the sports media tracker also counted eight cutaways to injured Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the broadcast).
“Damn that’s crazy,” Travis Kelce said of the number of times the “Don’t Blame Me” singer was shown during the game. “It’s like once a drive.”
Jason added: “I mean, that’s more than Jack Nicholson courtside for the Lakers.”
NBC was rewarded for its efforts with 27 million viewers, more than any for a Sunday night show since the Super Bowl in February. That number was boosted by a 53% surge among teenage girls, according to Nielsen Fast National data. It all led Jason Kelce to the conclusion that the NFL’s Swiftie era isn’t ending anytime soon.
“I guess what we do know is they’re not gonna slow down with it because this was the highest Sunday Night viewed game that they’ve had in awhile,” he said. “Twenty-seven million viewers tuned in to watch Zach Wilson take on the Kansas City Chiefs. I think a few of ‘em might have been there for Deadpool and Taylor.”