NFL Boyfriends Are The Hottest New It Girl Accessory
The sporty himbo is having a moment.
In September, women discovered a new way to piss off their boyfriends in only 12 words. Simply ask, “Isn’t it crazy how Taylor Swift put Travis Kelce on the map?” and watch them spiral. Longtime football fans might not want to believe it, but the truth is that women are starting to take over the NFL this season, one game-day date at a time.
Per NBC Sports, the NFL’s Sunday Night Football gained over 2 million female viewers when Swift attended the Kansas City Chiefs game on Oct. 1 to support her rumored beau. And that was just the beginning. Whether it’s Swift heading to Arrowhead Stadium, Alix Earle debuting “NFL Man” on the gram, Hailee Steinfeld going incognito at the Buffalo Bills game, or Kim Kardashian reportedly “hanging out” with a draft pick of her own, it girls are trying on the WAG label for size. (Vocab check: “WAG” is the shorthand for a spouse of an NFL player, an acronym for “wives and girlfriends.”)
They’re making the WAG life look really good, too. Perhaps Barstool’s Kelly Keegs summed it up best when she tweeted after Swift’s NFL debut, “Should I date a football player too? @taylorswift13.”
It’s not like Swift, Earle, Steinfeld, and Kardashian are the first celebs to take a shine to football stars. NFL players and it girls go way back — think Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady, Camille Kostek and Rob Gronkowski, Olivia Culpo and Christian McCaffrey, Ciara and Russell Wilson, Simone Biles and Jonathan Owens.
The most recent NFL-aissance feels different, though. It could be a natural progression of the girl’s girl summer, a sporty epilogue to the summer of the Barbie movie, and the rise of the lovable himbo. Or it could be the viral realization that the skinny, tattooed, pseudo-intellectual guy is actually kind of a d*ck — and a boring date to boot. Football players, on the other hand, have undeniable appeal right now. Maggie, 31, sums up why: “The SWAG!”
This sports-forward trend might have been building for some time, but it reached its fever pitch when Swift joined in, taking a significant departure from her line of creative-leaning exes to go for a 6-foot-5 sports icon. “Taylor got a football player and I would also like a tall hot athlete to make grand gestures and let me meet their mom,” one fan tweeted. “I saw Taylor Swift dating a football player, so I want to date a football player,” Emily, 26, tells Elite Daily.
It’s not hard to understand the attraction. To make it in the NFL, you have to meet quite a few requirements, including strength, endurance, and a sizable ego. There’s also the muscles of it all.
In a March Saturday Night Live sketch titled “NFL Gives Back,” Travis Kelce and other players picked a charitable cause close to the heart: “lifting women whose boyfriends can’t pick them up.” As Kelce and others volunteered by carrying women for their lanky boyfriends, SNL cast member Heidi Gardner summed up the appeal: “Sometimes I just want to be thrown around and feel tiny.” Kim, 35, tells Elite Daily, “Have you ever had [sex] with an athlete? They can lift you like it’s nothing.”
Is it any wonder Earle hard-launched with “NFL Man” (her nickname for Braxton Berrios) with a photo of him literally carrying her? Or that the height difference between Swift and Kelce — 7 glorious inches, BTW — made Twitter lose it?
There’s just something undeniably appealing about dating a “dreamy oak tree of a man,” particularly one who’s got the confidence to weather the media frenzy. As Kelce put it in a press conference, “You've got a lot of people that care about Taylor, and for good reason.” The it girls might be on the sidelines, but these NFL boyfriends are trying on the role of cheerleader. (When Earle finally posted that pic with Berrios, he thirstily commented, “Big fan of this.”)
Clearly, Kelce knows the power of the it girl influence, considering fans haven’t exactly been shy about loving Traylor. The numbers don’t lie: Since Swift went to her first game, Kelce’s jersey sales have jumped almost 400%. Swift’s second Chiefs game was the most-watched game on TV since the 2023 Super Bowl. And per NBC, Sunday Night Football viewership for girls ages 12 to 17 went up by 53% for the season-to-date average. For women ages 18 to 24, viewership increased by 24%. For women over 35, that number was 34%.
Earle’s relationship with Berrios had a similar impact. After the TikToker posted a GRWM for the Dolphins game on Oct. 8, Google searches for “Miami Dolphins Jersey” went up by 479% worldwide, per No Deposit Guide. Searches for Dolphins tickets also jumped by 331%, “an all-time high in the past five years.”
If math’s not your thing, let’s put it this way: After Swift’s first game, the NFL changed their TikTok bio to “NFL (Taylor’s Version).” As for Earle and Berrios, in a viral video, one TikToker explained their ‘ship: “Can we talk about how everyone’s saying taylor put kelce on the map as a joke but in reality alix earle singlehandedly gave braxton berrios a name in society.”
The league is fully embracing this new demographic. An NFL exec summed it up in an interview with the Associated Press: “Hopefully those — especially the young women — that have now gained an interest in not only Travis Kelce, but the NFL more broadly, can stay with us throughout the year and years to come.”
The jury’s still out on whether it girls are fair-weather fans of the NFL boyfriend or if they’re here for the long haul, but they’re definitely making the case for recruiting a sporty himbo of your own.