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The season of Swift: How football just got a lot more interesting

Analysis by Lisa Respers France, CNN

(CNN) — Years ago I bought a book to help me learn more about football.

I wish I could tell you the title, but I have no idea where the book is because I barely cracked it.

Surely I am not the only person who’s just not that into the NFL.

This edition of the newsletter is for anyone who, like me, only watches the Super Bowl for the halftime show. Because this week was decidedly not like any other week in the sport.

Something to sip on…

You may have heard a thing or two – or more – about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

The high level of interest in their recent public outing – given that neither one of them has even confirmed they are dating – tracks. Swift’s career has been built in part on speculation about which ex-boyfriend inspired what song, while Kelce has been such an eligible football player bachelor that he was once the subject of a reality dating show.

A match made in public relations heaven, right?

That’s a yes as far as the NFL and Heinz marketers are concerned. I know a bunch of non-football fans who rushed to tune into the Kansas City Chiefs (Kelce’s team) taking on the Chicago Bears last weekend, strictly because Swift was at the game.

Sales of Kelce’s jersey went through the roof and social media has been trying to figure out the perfect name for the stars as a potential couple.

But theirs is not the only football story that has people entranced.

Deion Sanders coaching the Colorado Buffaloes football program at the University of Colorado Boulder has energized folks about college football, despite their recent blowout loss to the Oregon Ducks.

There’s a reason why the man has the nickname “Primetime,” as he definitely knows how to play the media game. It’s even a family story given that his son, Shilo, plays as a defensive end and his son, Shedeur, is starting quarterback for their father’s team.

I may not know a great deal about football, but I do know that if the elder Sanders can garner this much attention in his first year building the roster, there’s no telling what the future might bring to pass.

One thing to talk about…

Music is my jam (literally) and I am especially fond of festivals.

Which is why I have been fascinated to watch the growth of One Music Fest in Atlanta. The event started in 2010, and this year has nabbed Janet Jackson and Kendrick Lamar as headliners.

In talking to the founder, Jason “J” Carter, I learned that it all started out as a way “to create a safe space for Black culture and music to be celebrated.”

Carter told me in a conversation this week that he was intent on creating a “multi-stage, open air, cultural event,” where anyone from a college student to a 45-year-old executive could feel “fully immersed in Black music and culture.”

“I just think there’s so much power in togetherness and community,” he said. “Just that natural spiritual attachment that we have to each other and music is one of these things that just brings folks together.”

There’s a great deal of conversation these days about creating safe spaces for people, and while Carter said he would would often see performers of color on stage at festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, he didn’t see that same representation in the audience of those events. He hopes One Music Fest can fill that void.

“It’s bigger acts, bigger attractions, a bigger selection with regards to food and vendors. There’ll be more festival attractions on site because now we have a bigger space, so we can create those surprise-and-delight moments,” he said. “I mean, when was the last time you’ve seen a roller-skating rink at a festival?”

The event is running October 28 and 29.

You should listen to…

That feels like the perfect segue to the king of music festivals, Ed Sheeran.

He’s releasing “Autumn Variations,” his first album on his own label, and Sheeran has apparently poured his heart into it like he always does.

On social media, he shared the song “Plastic Bag,” which he said is “about being at your lowest and thinking that obliterating yourself on a Saturday night is gonna solve all your problems.”

We’ve all been there, right? The new album drops Friday.

Can’t wait to watch…

There’s plenty to watch this week, but David McCallum, who died recently of natural causes at the age of 90, had a special place in my heart.

That’s because the actor, who starred as medical examiner Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on “NCIS,” was my first celebrity interview at the beginning of my career at CNN (shoutout to my former editor Todd Leopold for the assignment).

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” star told me about how he immersed himself in the study of pathology to prepare for the role and also talked about how much the “NCIS” cast loved each other.

“What’s really funny is when you see us all getting together in the morning, the amount of hugging and kissing that goes on is really quite obscene,” McCallum said at the time. “But it’s so nice, so warm.”

In his honor, you can always stream the beloved crime procedural show on Paramount+ as well as some other streaming services.

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