NFL star Travis Kelce says he is “on top of the world” as he navigates a whole new level of celebrity since kindling a rumored romance with pop icon Taylor Swift.
Swift’s appearance at the Kansas City Chiefs’ last two games — at home to the Chicago Bears and on Sunday at the New York Jets — galvanized her legion of fans and the NFL has unrepentantly played up to what it called “a pop cultural moment.”
Kelce, whose remarks on the blossoming friendship had lately been confined to conversations with his brother Jason on their “New Heights” podcast, spoke to reporters at the Chiefs’ training facility on Friday and said he was happy to ride the wave.
“I was on top of the world after the Super Bowl, and right now I’m even more on top of the world,” said Kelce, who turned 34 on Thursday. “It’s fun.”
Kelce, who as a tight end helped Kansas City to a Super Bowl triumph over Jason’s Philadelphia Eagles in February, has seen his social-media following and jersey sales skyrocket.
The Kelce brothers’ mother, Donna, has also been drawn into the whirlwind, fielding questions on whether Travis and Taylor really are an item and just what she and the singer talked about as they watched two Chiefs games from luxury suites.
She told CNN on Friday the attention was “unreal.”
“I tell everyone that it’s kind of like an alternate universe that I just happened to be in,” she added.
– ‘Focus is winning’ –
Despite his two Super Bowl titles and status as a well-known podcast personality, it’s a new level of celebrity for Kelce.
“We’re learning with the paparazzi,” Kelce said. “It comes with it. You’ve got a lot of people who care about Taylor, and for good reason. You just have to keep living and learning and enjoying the moments.”
Kelce said the attention wouldn’t distract him from his job, noting that the Chiefs have won three straight games since opening the season with a loss to the Detroit Lions, a game he missed with a knee injury.
“At the end of the day, I’ve always been pretty good about compartmentalizing and being able to stay focused,” he said. “I’ll keep rolling with that.
“I’m having fun with it … making sure my focus is winning the game, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
That will be music to Chiefs fans’ ears –– but plenty of “Swifties” will be more concerned over whether the 12-time Grammy winner will turn out on Sunday at the Vikings’ US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis — where she played two sold-out concerts in June.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told TMZ this week that his city would love to have her back.
“It’s possible she will have to console Travis Kelce after the Vikings beat the Chiefs, but there are plenty of great spots across town for them to go on a date and lift their spirits!”