LAKE WINNEBAGO, Mo. — Stare at the wall with signed helmets of all 32 NFL teams, ranging from Joe Montana, to Jim Brown, to Jerry Rice, to Barry Sanders, and you might think you’re in the NFL Hall of Fame.
But it’s actually the “Diva Den” of Stephanie Campbell and her wife Robyn.
Campbell has been watching the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs since she was a little girl.
“What kind of first drew me into the game is watching all the receivers because I love the receivers,” she said.
Campbell didn’t have a chance to play women’s professional football until she was 39. She wore jersey No. 88 for the Kansas City Crunch and Tribe.
“The reason I picked 88 is because one of my favorite players of all time was Tony Gonzalez. I played tight end; he played tight end. We kind of had the same skill set,” Campbell said.
Now Gonzalez is featured prominently in the Diva Den where the couple enjoy NFL and NHL games with their friends and their golden doodle, Mochi. Except Mochi is more of a red and golden doodle currently, sporting a Patrick Mahomes-style grooming and a Chiefs logo and No. 15 jersey.
“She’s our Diva Den mascot,” Campbell said with a smile.
The Diva Den is a shrine to the Chiefs and some of the NFL’s greatest legends. There are dozens of signed jerseys, helmets and footballs.
“Just sitting around here and looking at some of the players that I looked and watched as a kid and seeing their autographs sometimes just gives me goosebumps,” Campbell said.
Campbell has a personal connection to a lot of the memorabilia. She was a Chiefs sideline photographer for several years following her retirement from the Women’s Football Alliance at age 49.
Her favorite photo of the dozens on the den’s walls is one signed by Marcus Peters of an overturned interception in 2015 versus the Chicago Bears. Campbell said it proves the refs made the wrong call.
“I was the only photographer anywhere that caught he actually had both feet in and the ball,” she pointed out.
She also has a game ball from when she played at Super Bowl XXXVIII, as part of a women’s exhibition.
She’s looking forward to hopefully watching the Chiefs in this year’s Super Bowl in her Diva Den and hopes one day “man caves” will be filled with the achievements of more than just men.
“Hopefully someday there will be a real women’s NFL where people can get paid to play the game they love,” Campbell said.