Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift have a romance worth rooting for

I realize some of you will be disappointed in me when I admit this, but I’m going to do it anyway. So here goes:

I can’t get enough of Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift.

I mean it. I am pleased every time a camera catches Taylor squealing with delight when her fella makes a catch (though, admittedly, that’s become a rarer and rarer sight the longer this courtship has progressed). I am inexplicably happy when I see how famously the pop star and the tight end’s mother seem to get along. I happen to think this may have a legit chance of having a happy ending.

And even if it doesn’t?

Who cares? They seem to be having a blast. They seem to dig each other. Is there really anything wrong with any of that, even if Travis becomes the lyric to a future Swiftie sing-along in a few years?

I know there’s a good chance you’re rolling your eyes at all of this. I know plenty of football fans who want to throw their bowls of nachos through their TV whenever the CBS or NBC or ESPN or Amazon camera wanders to the press level and sees Taylor commiserating with Brittany Mahomes.

I also have quite a few Chiefs fans in my life, and while it’s hard to envision that there’s been a better fan experience in all of sports the last few years than to count the Chiefs among your favorite teams … well, you know how these things go. You know how these things work. Even if your team has been on an epic run of success, you’re always looking for the other shoe to drop, always looking for disaster to fall from the sky.

And so these Chiefs fans are quite aware that while Kelce is still having a fine season … well, he’s not quite what he’s been. He still has five touchdowns, is still likely to hit 1,000 yards, probably as soon as Sunday against the Bengals. But he’s not what they’re used to. Part of this, of course, is that he turned 34 in October, and, as a tight end, that’s like playing till you’re 50.

Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Rob Gronkowski … all three were out of football by 34. Ozzie Newsome was exactly 34 when he retired. Tight end in the NFL isn’t exactly a lifetime appointment.

Still … if you have a Chiefs fan in your life, ask them what they think about Taylor wearing her 87 jersey to every game. Just make sure that fan isn’t standing close to their 17-year-old daughter.

We tend to think of this all as a product of 2023 zaniness. But that is wrong. It was back in 1952 that Joe DiMaggio, recently retired, asked a mutual friend to introduce him to Marilyn Monroe. And, look, there was no X in 1952. There was no TikTok. There was no Instagram. There were no 24/7 networks. There were no camera phones.

But there was a lively tabloid newspaper culture, believe that. And every one of those papers — the Post, the Daily News, the Daily Mirror — had Broadway columnists who were every bit as famous as the people they covered, and more influential than any sports or political columnist. Think Ed Sullivan. Think Walter Winchell. Think Leonard Lyons. Think Earl Wilson.

And they dined on Marilyn/Joe D nightly.

Now, DiMaggio waited until after he was done playing to begin this relationship — although, even if they’d hooked up a few years before, it’s unlikely the former Norma Jeane Baker would’ve been spotted wearing a pinstriped No. 5 in the Yankee Stadium press box. And, sadly, once they said “I do” on Jan. 14, 1954, it was less than a year before they both said, “Never mind.”

Call me sentimental. Call me romantic. But I hope Taylor and Travis get that happily-ever-after that Joe and Marilyn never did. I hope they can recreate the most famous conversation of the MariJoe (as we would’ve called it now) marriage, when Marilyn told Joe about the ovation she received from a crowd of raucous GIs, only it would go this way:

Travis to Taylor after catching a TD pass at Arrowhead Stadium: “Taylor, you never heard such cheering!”