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We've Reached the "NFL Players Have to Answer for Making Taylor Swift Say 'Fuck' on TV" Phase of the Season

Like most people who follow the Patriots either personally or professionally, I was stunned beyond belief that Myles Bryant successfully defended Travis Kelce in the end zone on this play, forcing Kansas City to settle for a field goal. First, because it's rare to see Bryant ever break up a pass. Among cornerbacks with as many coverage snaps as he's had, only one has given up a higher completion percentage than his 81.3%. And only three have a higher passer rating against than his 109.6. To put those numbers in perspective, this means that every time Bryant's receiver has been targeted, the opposing quarterback completes 10% more of his throws than Tua Tagovailoa and is second only to Brock Purdy in passer rating. Regardless of who said quarterback is. So we'll take this win any time we can get it.

But in stopping this drive, Bryant also pulled off the even rarer feat of not getting called for Defensive Pass Interference when covering Kelce. Despite how they see things in Kansas City:

... nobody benefits from more bogus penalties than they do. And no one draws more Charmin-soft DPI calls than Kelce. Having him flop in the end zone without a hailstorm of flags raining down on the field is like drawing a charge on Lebron James. Bryant would've been justified if he asked for that ball so he could will it to his kids and grandkids. 

But since this happened in the hellscape that is this NFL season, it's not just enough to say, "Nice play," and line up for the field goal try. Or even for the coaches to show it at Monday's film session and point out how it could've been played better. This is 2023. So it's all about Kelce's girlfriend's reaction:

Everything else is - if you'll excuse the unintentional pun that I'm sticking with - secondary:

Source - There were plenty of noteworthy Taylor Swift moments from Sunday’s Chiefs-Patriots game at Gillette Stadium, but perhaps the one that stood out most was the pop megastar’s animated response to a play involving boyfriend Travis Kelce.

Swift, 34, appeared to fume in the second half when Patriots cornerback Myles Bryant made contact with the Chiefs tight end, also 34, in the end zone and there was no call. 

Bryant, whose Patriots fell to the Chiefs, 27-17, saw the singer’s now-viral reaction and expressed how “cool” it is that Swift’s into the action.

“It’s a high-stakes game. People get real into it, so it’s cool,” the 25-year-old Bryant recently told People.

And that's where the NFL is at now. Whoever planned and executed this romance of convenience between Swift and Kelce can declare it Mission: Accomplished. Whether it was coordinated to get people to quit talking about her climate-damaging use of private jets or boost his profile just as he started doing ads for Covid boosters, whether it was created to promote her movie or (my current favorite theory) draw her young, female demo to the NFL after YouTube blew $2 billion on Sunday Ticket, they got everything they wanted and more. 

This is Roger Goodell's wettest dream. The league he rules like the authoritarian despot he is, has gone beyond the lowly sports sites and comedy/smut platforms like ours, and is now making the gossip rags like People. And not because some star running back cold-cocked his fiancee in an elevator or a tight end murdered someone. But for a superstar romance. 

This is something a Pete Rozelle couldn't never have imagined in his wildest fantasies back when he was having two martini lunches with Lamar Hunt. Sure, they had Joe Namath was the center of the pop culture solar system back when he logging more minutes in the hot tub at the Playboy Mansion than he did the whirlpool in the Jets trainer's room. But Broadway Joe was the outlier. At no point could anyone back then have dreamed of a future where a celebrity magazine is asking a non-descript cornerback what he thinks of the reaction of a tight end's famous girlfriend to a play he made. Mel Renfro is in the Hall of Fame. And I can promise you that never once was he asked by, say, Life Magazine for a comment about how Danny Abramowicz's wife was upset he got away with DPI on her husband. 

But such is the new world order we find ourselves in. Myles Bryant may never become the cornerback Patriots fans wish he was. But he did make history by becoming the first NFL player to ever make the reigning Time Magazine Person of the Year say "fuck" on television. If he achieves nothing else, he'll always have that for a legacy. 

P.S. If this is amount of coverage we get on a blowout win in a Sunday 1pm game, the Chiefs playoff games are going to be insufferable.