The Taylor Swift/Travis Kelce relationship discourse doesn’t need any more fodder, but my own inner Swiftie can’t help it.

There may be some Swifties new to the world of NFL who need some help learning who the big players are and there are NFL fans that need help learning who Taylor Swift is. This is an obvious gap that I’m willing to help bridge.

This is a complete list of starting quarterbacks matched with the Taylor Swift album that I think best represents each one. This is also sometimes referred to as “the Era” you are in. There are 10 albums to assign to 32 quarterbacks. Each album will be chosen based on the quarterback’s personality, playing ability, career and vibe. 


Taylor Swift (Debut) 

Taylor Swift’s first album, commonly referred to by fans as Debut, pushed the teenager onto the scene in 2006. Swift’s self-titled album reflects the mind of a young girl. The songs reflect love, relationships and the life of a 16-year-old. Her first album has the most country sound to it, given her Nashville influence at this age. The album features the popular songs “Tim McGraw,” “Picture to Burn,” “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Our Song.”

P.J. Walker – The Browns new QB (due to a Deshaun Watson injury) is in his debut album era not just because he recently started for the Browns. He matches with this album because he debuted and delivered. The Browns are 3-2 after Walker started in Week Six.

Malik Willis – Willis is doing a little bit more debuting for the Titans. This is his second year in the league, and he entered his first game last week. Hence, his matchup with Swift’s debut album. 

Bryce Young – Young also best fits this album due to his rookie status. He just might not be making as much of a notable impact as the songs did. 

Tyson Bagent – Bagent is making even more of a rookie debut after his first NFL game last week. He’s debuting new information to me because I’ve never heard of him before. 


Fearless is Swift’s second album, which is arguably her best album and elevated her status beyond country music stardom. Fearless won Album of The Year at the Country Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards. It also won Best Country Music Album and Album of the Year at the Grammys in 2010. Her second album still revolves around love and relationships from the perspective of high school-aged Taylor. The album features some of her most popular songs, including “Love Story”, “You Belong With Me”, “Fifteen” and “Fearless”. 

Sam Howell – The Commanders quarterback fits the Fearless vibe. He’s in his sophomore year in the league and is leading his team well enough. Howell will need to be fearless if he wants to continue to win games. 

Brock Purdy – Purdy is making the same statement that this album made when it burst onto the scene. Also in his sophomore season, Purdy has been talk of the town since starting for the Niners as a third stringer, now leading them to a 5-1 start this season. 

Joshua Dobbs – The Arizona quarterback took over after Kyler Murray suffered an injury and has showcased his skills despite being 1-5. His coaches are confident Dobbs will perform well in Murray’s absence. 

Speak Now

Her third album is the start of her change in sound. Swift wrote Speak Now by herself in opposition to doubts about her writing ability. The album sound is more country pop rock, with a sadder, more lamenting tone as she recounts her past. At the same time, the album has an element of enchantment (not just because one of the songs is “Enchanted”) and magic. Its most popular songs are “Back to December,” “Mine,” “Dear John” and “Mean”. 

Lamar Jackson – Lamar Jackson is in his Speak Now era, and not just because his team wears purple. Jackson is a quality quarterback that has lead the Ravens to multiple successful seasons. His success conveys the enchanting feel of the album, but contract negotiations and a lack of titles add a lamenting tone. Jackson needs to speak now and bring his team to the top. 

Dak Prescott – Prescott is in the same predicament as Lamar Jackson. He is the touted franchise leader of the Cowboys, but what do they have to show for it? Prescott has all the shine until the shine fades. This, I feel, best fits the vibes of the Speak Now era. 

Desmond Ridder – Ridder fits the Speak Now era because he has the option to fit into the literal message of the song for which the album is titled. Ridder needs to stand up and “speak” for his team. He can bring success to Atlanta, but he needs to work for it. 

Tyrod Taylor – As a replacement for Daniel Jones, Taylor has the opportunity to do the same as Ridder and carry the Giants to more success. The Giants have to adapt to a new QB, but the change may bring a positive note to a dull season. 


Red is a popular album for many and is a debut of Swift’s sound experimentation. Swift moved further away from her original country sound with songs like “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “Red” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The album’s collective sound is a free, hipster vibe that marked an era for many of her fans in 2012. Red is also a small transition away from the innocent girl image her younger albums portrayed.

Joe Burrow – Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is in his Red era, no doubt. He’s no longer new to the game and has the same free feeling to take the reins as the album. Despite the free feelings, it’s been a struggle for Burrow and the Tigers, similar to the songs touching on struggles in Taylor’s relationship. 

Kenny Pickett – Pickett is also in his Red era for similar reasons. He has the freedom to lead the Steelers, but has been plagued by struggles to compete offensively. Pickett is a transition into a new era for the Steelers, just as Red is a transition into a new genre for Swift. 

Justin Herbert – Same as his flow, Herbert was free to throw and hit his targets, but the Chargers face the same struggles going 2-3 with their young talent. Herbert, Pickett and Burrow need to sort their teams’ woes for some success on the field. 



The younger albums are popular, but 1989 is very popular. Swift had more or less completed the transition into the pop genre by the time she released her fifth studio album. The album which is titled after her year of birth is symbolic of a rebirth, according to Swift. The most notable songs from the album are “Shake it Off,” “Blank Space,” “Style” and “Bad Blood.” The songs take a more upbeat tone while still touching on past bad relationships and unfair criticisms.

Josh Allen – Josh Allen and the Bills are on a path to success, and have been for a few years. Allen’s emergence as Buffalo’s franchise QB has brought a rebirth to the Bills organization. 1989 is the full transition into pop music for Swift, and Allen is the full transition into a competitive organization for the Bills. 

Geno Smith – Long gone are the days of Russell Wilson and the Legion of Boom. Now it’s Geno Smith and the Seahawks. Geno Smith represents the pop, wistful feeling of the 1989 album within the Seahawks franchise. He has managed to take over the role despite bouncing around the league, and is now finally getting his chance in Seattle. 

C.J. Stroud – Stroud has brought hope to the Houston Texans organization. He’s not perfect, but he brought a symbol of hope much like the 1989 album.



Reputation holds an important spot in the album lineup as it marks Swift’s return to the forefront after hiding herself from the public for almost two years. Reputation ventures into genres like hip hop, R&B, electropop and EDM. The sixth album has the most cohesive theme, and yet the most complex. The themes deal with vengeance, but also vulnerability and finding new relationships. This album holds a lot of cryptic messaging, hidden themes and references.

Zach Wilson – Zach Wilson is most definitely in his Reputation era. The quarterback’s literal reputation was in shambles after his performance early in his career, and Aaron Rodgers’ injury gifted Wilson with a chance at redeeming his reputation. He’s still not star quality, but he is showing fans a little more grit and drive to win than he did before. 

Derek Carr- Carr was attempting a revival of his reputation as quarterback on a new team, but it is not going well. There is plenty of criticism surrounding his performance at QB, which is similar to the criticism Swift speaks to on this album. 

Trevor Lawrence – Lawrence represents the end of the Reputation era when you reach the end of the album and Swift presents her vulnerabilities and discovery of new relationships. Lawrence has laid his vulnerabilities as quarterback bare, and he has worked to develop the Jacksonville Jaguars into a competitive team. He is at the tail end of the era of fixing the reputation of his team. 


Swift’s seventh album is a characterized by its complete turnaround from the preceding album’s dark theme. The emergence of Lover emphasizes the transition fans can see from her first album to her seventh. Swift’s hiatus from public appearances was an aid in her mental health journey. Reputation featured themes of vulnerability that opened Swift’s path to full acceptance of herself and her relationships in the eye of the public. Lover is in the synthpop, bubblegum pop genres, with many of the songs taking on more upbeat and positive perspectives. 

Tua Tagovailoa – Tua definitely went through his struggles with the concussions to enter into his Lover era. Miami is one of the best teams in the league, and Tagovailoa is a big part of the reason. He and the team are working together so well, just like Lovers. As long as they keep winning, everything will be as happy and upbeat as the Lover album. 

Patrick Mahomes – Just like Tua in Miami, KC and Mahomes are in love. However, the Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are in a long-term relationship. Mahomes is the franchise QB, and they’ve been in the honeymoon phase for years. The team gels, and its all sunshine and rainbows. 

Jalen Hurts – Philly fans are strong with their feelings, and they’re strong about their feelings on Jalen Hurts. Hurts, similar to Tua and Patrick, is gelling with the team and has dominated for the past two years. They’re in their Lover era, but I suspect not for too long. 

Jared Goff – Goff has gone through a change of teams, ending up in Detroit, where he and the Lions are making a strong case with a 5-1 start. Goff transitioned like Swift’s music did, and now he’s reached his Lover era in Detroit. 


Swift once again steps foot into a new sound, this time exploring indie folk and alternative rock with Folklore. As the name suggests, the album is made of fictional stories that explore themes of nostalgia and escapism. Folklore is the result of Swift’s creative process during the quarantine period of the Covid-19 pandemic, with singles like “Cardigan,” “Betty” and “Exile.”

Jordan Love – The Packers and Packer fans are kind of the reason Jordan Love is in his Folklore era right now. The album touches on themes of nostalgia and escapism, and I’m betting the whole organization is nostalgic and wishing they could retreat back to the golden years of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. He’s new to this, but he won’t stay in this era for long. 

Matthew Stafford – Stafford’s in his own personal Folklore stage because he’s probably hoping to escape back to the days when he was competing for a Super Bowl. 



Folklore was a surprise album, and Evermore was part two of the surprise. Evermore was released five months after Folklore, making it Swift’s ninth album. Evermore also deals with fictional stories, but this album deals with the complexity of human emotions. It features songs like “Willow,” “No Body, No Crime” and “Coney Island.” 

Baker Mayfield – Tampa Bay is having mixed emotions about Mayfield as quarterback in place of Tom Brady. He has always provided the same mixed emotions everywhere he’s gone. He might be eternally stuck in the Evermore era. 

Kirk Cousins – Just last season, the Vikings were on top of the world and doing so well. This season is a little different, and the success of last season seems like one of the stories from the Evermore album. 

Gardner Minshew – Minshew is similar to Baker Mayfield in that he brings out complex human emotions. He may perform well or not perform well at all. Colts fans may be wary about supporting someone who’s next throw could be an interception. 



Midnights is Swift’s most recent album, which has a more chilled-out pop sound. Swift herself says the album is inspired by sleepless nights. The songs reflect on themes of self-awareness, nostalgia and insecurity. The most notable songs from the album are “Anti-Hero,” “Lavender Haze” and “Karma.”

Mac Jones – Mac Jones and the rest of the players in this era are here because they represent the thoughts that keep you up at night. The Patriots are experiencing insecurity in their position in the football realm. Mac Jones provides no sleep to the restless.

Russell Wilson – Many fans think about what could’ve been when they look at Russell Wilson and his career. This thought resembles the themes of Midnights

Jimmy Garoppolo – Garoppolo also represents what could’ve been. He had a promising early career with the Niners, and ended up trying to squeeze out wins with the Raiders. Garoppolo may be up listening to Midnights to soothe his sleepless nights.

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