In the ultimate battle of men's magazine Super Bowl parties, Playboy beat out Maxim by perhaps the widest margin since the two began competing in 2001. That's at least my impression after looking over my scores from previous years.
After getting beaten down by Maxim for many years, Playboy Enterprises got serious and took advantage of publishing changes atop Maxim. The fact that Maxim's event was on Friday and Playboy's was on Saturday made them easier to evaluate.
So here are your scores. Each category is worth a maximum of 10 points.
Maxim (6.5 points)
It was a great idea to rent out the new Stone Rose at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a hot bar with seemingly unlimited space and many different looks.
The major issue was that it was 90 percent outside and unfortunately, when temperatures reach 39 degrees at peak party time (midnight), heat lamps just don't work. No coat check in site left many girls in skimpy outfits congregating by whatever heat they could find -- and made the inside prime real estate. Major points however for the parking. There was plenty of space for partygoers to park -- a rare site at Super Bowl parties.
When you have unlimited funds to do what it takes to win the Super Bowl party war, you do what Playboy did: Rent out a ranch in the middle of nowhere and create a space from scratch. Build a tent, cover the floor with black carpet and fill it with nice touches like a Playmate in a big martini glass.
Major points for two uniquely different food and bar areas; an enclosed pen of sorts where the VIPs congregated made it easy for stargazers to find out who was there. Great idea to have two outside stations: a cigar smoking area and bathroom trailers.
Food & Drink
I went through this with Maxim in previous years. They are sometimes non-committal on the food, believing that good alcohol and an awesome girl-to-guy ratio carries the day. It's expensive, but having food is a great little touch that really goes a long way. Some people insisted food was made and passed around, but I was at the party for more than two hours and didn't see much of it. The margarita was decent -- but the berry mojito was a bad idea.
Playboy hired Levy Restaurants to cater a brilliant menu of items that didn't need to use plates or any silverware. Major points for that, since it allowed people to keep partying instead of sitting down to eat.
Some of the highlights included mini grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and mini Beef Wellingtons. Fried mac and cheese and mini burgers were a great idea, but the mac and cheese was a little bland (needed a stronger flavored cheese) and the burgers didn't seem cooked enough. A nice array of desserts were also made: mini cherry pies, homemade rocky road bars and cotton candy.
With about 40,000 total appetizers produced, this was a great achievement. The amount of people congregating around the food proved that if you want to throw a big party at the Super Bowl, you must adequately feed the guests.
Although it was a crisp night, the space was awesome and the girl-to-guy ratio you will not find in any one space in any bar in any place for the rest of the year. I'd estimate it was four girls for every guy. If you were a 25-year-old single guy this really is paradise.
Playboy didn't quite match the Maxim girl-to-guy ratio. The crowd was expectedly older, but definitely more nicely dressed. Twenty-six Playmates were dressed in a variety of costumes -- and no star appearance at Maxim matched the energy of the crowd following Hugh Hefner and "The Girls Next Door" around the party.
Final score: Playboy beats Maxim 27-21.
Other parties of note included the Gatorade party, which has managed to keep a very select guest list. Joe Montana and Peyton Manning were there and the food was the most unique of any of the parties I attended. Ribs, steaks, corn and a potato bar at a very nice venue: the Phoenician.
The Nike party was also a select party and was the only party I went to that had good sushi. The Electronic Arts party had too large of a guest list. Within a couple hours, no one could move. The party I didn't make it to that I wished I went to was the Marquis Jet party. I was told it was on 11 acres with a par three and had a Q&A with Pats coach Bill Belichick.
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