Super Bowl week opened on Monday night with a sensory-overload spectacle at the Las Vegas Allegiant Stadium, and a sprinkling of Taylor Swift.
Bellowing announcers, thumping music, dancers, drummers and painted men flooded the in-field while more than 23,000 paying fans filled the stands of the arena, waving flags and placards while howling at the master of ceremonies and jeering the Kansas City Chiefs.
Never known for understatement, Vegas certainly put on a show to kick-start the city’s first Super Bowl. The defending Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday for the cherished Vince Lombardi Trophy.
“Now you’re firing me up, making me want to play right now, baby,” laughed tight end Travis Kelce as boos rained down from the stands. “Whooooooo... I love the boos more than I love the cheers, keep ‘em coming Niners gang, keep ‘em coming.”
Kelce and pop superstar girlfriend Taylor Swift bring even more glitz to this Vegas Super Bowl as their relationship is on everybody’s lips.
“I’ve never seen a Super Bowl opening like this,” Kelce smiled. “It feels like Christmas,” he laughed, as a female journalist threw a Mexican wrestling mask at him.
Soon afterwards a man tossed him a red-and-white striped soccer shirt. Questions ranged from queries about the weight he bench presses to how his faith and family have fuelled his success.
To 'football star' add 'diplomat' as the 34-year-old fielded increasingly bizarre questions — many relating to Swift — from a tiny podium with journalists a dozen deep jostling and shouting.
Swift set another record on Sunday, winning the Grammy award for album of the year for an unprecedented fourth time.
“She’s unbelievable,” Kelce said. “She’s rewriting the history books. I told her I’ll have to hold up my end of the bargain and come home (with) some hardware, too.”
It is still not known whether or not Swift will attend Sunday’s blockbuster.
A regular at Chiefs games all season, she could miss the biggest game of all due to scheduling conflicts with her "Eras Tour" which has her performing in Tokyo on Feb 10, the night before the Super Bowl.
Swift could get to Las Vegas for kick-off on Sunday but would then have to quickly get back on a plane for three concerts in Melbourne, Australia staring Feb 16.
Her attendance could be a last-minute decision, but she is sure to be an ever-present at this Super Bowl whether she is there in person or not.
Earlier on Monday, Roger Goodell has been less than five minutes into his annual state of football address when he was talking about Swift.
In the bowels of the Allegiant Stadium, Goodell allowed himself a smile as the invitation-only media briefing was hijacked by the pop superstar.
“Having the Taylor Swift effect is a positive,” Goodell said. “They’re -- both Travis and Taylor -- are wonderful people and they seem very happy. She knows great entertainment and I think it is great to have her a part of it.
"Obviously it creates a buzz ... another group of young fans that are interested and saying ‘why is she going to this game?'”
The Swift factor could make Sunday’s game the most-watched Super Bowl of all-time, and already the Swift-Kelce love story has brought millions of dollars of added brand value to the Chiefs and the NFL, according to research done by Apex Marketing Group.
"Taylor Swift’s association with Travis Kelce and appearances at the Chiefs game has generated an equivalent brand value of $331.5 million for the Kansas City Chiefs and the NFL" said Apex President Eric Smallwood to Reuters in an email.
"The equivalent brand value 'EBV' is derived from exposure received by Swift/Chiefs from Sept 24 – Jan 22, from various media (TV, radio, newsprint, digital news, social media)."
If Opening Night is any indication, that exposure is set to go next-level this week.