Chiefs fans re­warded for pa­tience

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - Brian Golden Val­ley Press Staff Writer [email protected]­PRESS.COM

When Norma Cook grew up across the street from Ar­row­head Sta­dium in Kansas City, hav­ing the Kansas City Chiefs as neigh­bors in her apart­ment com­plex was no big deal.

Nei­ther was the Chiefs be­ing in the Su­per Bowl.

They played in two of the first four.

Last Satur­day marked the 50th an­niver­sary of the Chiefs’ 23-7 dom­i­na­tion of the Min­nesota Vik­ings in Su­per Bowl IV, the first played in New Or­leans.

The owner of the Val­ley’s semipro foot­ball team, the High Desert Phoenix, never imag­ined she would win a foot­ball cham­pi­onship tro­phy be­fore her fa­vorite team would again.

But she did.

“It’s so ex­cit­ing to see what has hap­pened to my Chiefs,” Cook ex­ulted. “When I was grow­ing up, I didn’t grasp how great the play­ers were who I just knew as our neigh­bors. I just knew they were gen­tle gi­ants who al­ways had time to talk to me.

“Fifty years kind of puts ev­ery­thing into per­spec­tive.”

Per­haps the Val­ley’s No.

1 Chiefs fan set a karmic tone with her Phoenix’s 2017 Pa­cific Coast Foot­ball League cham­pi­onship.

Kansas City drafted quar­ter­back Pa­trick Ma­homes that year.

Now a team that had never hosted an AFC Cham­pi­onship Game in its his­tory is about to host its sec­ond straight against the Ten­nessee Ti­tans Sun­day back in Cook’s child­hood neigh­bor­hood.

The Chiefs are heavy fa­vorites to win their first

AFC ti­tle in 50 years.

That they got here in Phoenix-ris­ing-from-th­eashes fash­ion in last week’s di­vi­sional play­off come­back win over the Hous­ton Tex­ans only makes the whole thing more karmic to Cook.

Fall­ing be­hind 24-0, they looked like the same old Chefs who al­ways found ways to lose play­off games un­der jinxed head coach Andy Reid.

The roar back to a record-set­ting 51-31 vic­tory was big enough to cleanse 50 years of frus­tra­tion.

Her team’s suc­cess these last three years jus­ti­fied Cook’s pas­sion of the past decade with be­com­ing the first fe­male prin­ci­pal owner in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia semipro foot­ball.

Frus­tra­tions reached crit­i­cal mass in 2016 when she nearly scrapped the whole thing amid a va­ri­ety of prob­lems.

But Norma Cook could no more give up on semipro foot­ball than she could her beloved Chiefs.

With the aid of su­per pro­moter Dwayne Si­mon, the HDP has been to two of the last three PCFC ti­tle games.

Coach Sam Va­iana’s fiery side­line pas­sions were rekin­dled. He re­turned to High­lang High and helped the Bull­dogs reach the CIF state cham­pi­onship game.

A new spring foot­ball league has been spawned, the North County Zu­lus.

And be­fore they played their first game, De­mario Richard and his re­mark­able come­back saga have been in­vited to a Raiders try­out camp in Las Ve­gas. Karma?

The Chiefs may be play­ing catch-up with their No. 1 Val­ley fan.

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