ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Hits Back at NFL Coach Tony Dungy's 'Ridiculous' Taylor Swift Criticism

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Stephen A. Smith, Taylor Swift, Tony Dungy

In response to retired NFL coach Tony Dungy claiming Taylor Swift is "disenchanting" people from tuning into professional football games, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith has hit back at the "ridiculous" criticism.

Smith addressed the topic on the Jan. 15 episode of his The Stephen A. Smith Show podcast.

"I went to a Taylor Swift concert. That s--- was off the chain," he said. "That was something special. It's getting ridiculous how she's being criticized by some, insulted by others, blamed by many. Grow up."

Smith continued: "And in the case of Tony Dungy, it's like, come on man, can we stop this, sir? Please, respectfully, please? Love Tony Dungy, love him to death. But you're blaming Taylor Swift for disinterest in NFL action?"

Next, Smith proceeded to list all the ways Swift has seemingly helped the NFL since she started attending Kansas City Chiefs games to cheer on her boyfriend, Travis Kelce.

"Second-highest TV ratings since 2000, second-highest Monday Night Football ratings since 2000, 97 of the top 100 TV programs of 2023," the ESPN commentator said of NFL viewership. "What are we talking about? Let her live her life."

Smith's clap-back came on the heels of Dungy's comments during a recent interview with Fox News. When asked about the "Taylor Swift effect" on sports, the NFL Hall of Famer didn't hold back.

"That's the thing that's disenchanting people with sports now," Dungy said. "There's so much on the outside coming in—entertainment value and different things taking away from what really happens on the field."

Clearly, Dungy's opinion is not shared by the industry as a whole.

Next: Brett Favre Makes Bold Prediction About Taylor Swift if Chiefs Don't Make It to the Super Bowl