Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Super Bowl with a Smirk: It’s finally time for what really matters: the parties

TV personality Jenny McCarthy, recording artist Pitbull and singer/actor Donnie Wahlberg attend SiriusXM at Super Bowl XLIX Radio Row at the Phoenix Convention Center on January 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.
TV personality Jenny McCarthy, recording artist Pitbull and singer/actor Donnie Wahlberg attend SiriusXM at Super Bowl XLIX Radio Row at the Phoenix Convention Center on January 30, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images

Super Bowl With a Smirk’s final dispatch of the week would center on what the focus really should be on, after all: the parties.

The game is fine, the TV commercials are cute and the halftime show is OK, but it’s the parade of parties that define Super Bowl excess.

Saturday night’s NFL Honors awards show hosted by Seth Meyers (with Aaron Rodgers expected to win MVP) qualifies as a party. So does Saturday’s Taste of the NFL fundraiser featuring dishes from chefs in every league city.

Seattle is represented on the menu by tortilla soup with shrimp-avocado ceviche relish, and New England by hand-rolled potato gnocchi with braised veal tomato sauce. Miami’s dish will be Caribbean hot-smoked sturgeon with a glaze of Dolfan tears.

Of course most folks think of celebrities and music when they think of Super Bowl parties. Saturday’s glut of those will include major parties hosted by Rolling Stone, Maxim and DirecTV, the latter featuring Rihanna. Many soirees are invitation-only and the ones open to the public have ticket prices (usually $1,000 and up) designed to keep out the likes of Smirk.

(Don’t feel bad for me, though. I scored an invite to the annual SB party hosted by the paroled step-brother of Carrot Top).

Friday night’s big parties included ones hosted by Playboy and ESPN. The latter’s 11th annual affair met with rave reviews, other than complaints that a leering, lurching Chris Berman inadvertently kept dripping sweat into people’s cocktails.

What does every major Super Bowl bash have in common? Simple. The one Litmus test that defines any hot, A-list party: If anybody who has ever appeared on Donald Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” is there … it isn’t.

▪ Commissioner Roger Goodell held his state of the NFL news conference on Friday. Based on the year he has had, I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing either an elaborate disguise or a flak jacket. (Roger declined my advice to begin the session with the statement: “I’m only here so I won’t get fined.”).

▪ Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll held their final pregame press conference Friday. Nothing newsworthy from it, but it was fun to marvel at how Belichick’s dour, unsmiling expression and Carroll’s greasy grin can be equally creepy.

▪ League announced that ball security and proper inflation would be a priority Sunday. To make absolutely sure the balls are not tampered with, they will be kept locked and unavailable, with Nerf footballs used instead.

▪ Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman continued to weigh whether to miss the game if his girlfriend gives birth to their first child Sunday. Smirk agrees with Jets receiver Eric Decker’s advice to Sherman: “Time your conception a little better!”

▪ Solstice, a Seattle marijuana retailer (it’s legal in Washington), is rolling 12,000 joints in time for Sunday in anticipation of a spike in business. In an unrelated story, Seahawks fans, asked their favorite part of the Super Bowl, answered, “snacks.”

▪ NBC has the game, but ESPN will trot out a four-game pregame show of its own Sunday. Features will include – I swear this is true – an essay called “I Am Confetti,” on “what it feels like to be a piece of confetti in the postage celebration.”

▪ The betting over/under on the national anthem is 2 minutes 1 second. What prevents singer Idina Menzel telling friends to bet crazy-big on the over and then making sure it happens? (I’m serious).

▪ Melbourne, Fla.-based Highland Mint produces the coin used in pregame flip. Smirk doesn’t care but finds this interesting: In 48 previous Super Bowls the coin flip has been heads 24 times and tails 24 times, and winning team had right call 24 times.

▪ An NFL celebrity golf event will be held Saturday at Phoenix’s Wildfire Golf Club, featuring dozens of retired players loudly griping about lack of medical benefits.

▪ An NFL Super Bowl-related community-service initiative with Rebuilding Together went awry Friday when volunteers from Habitat for Humanity began throwing debris at its rival’s newly constructed home.

▪ Finally, facts about the Vince Lombardi Trophy: Stands 22 inches tall, weighs seven pounds, is made of sterling silver, is manufactured by Tiffany, and contains Lombardi’s cremated remains. OK, Smirk made up that last part.

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