The real highlight of Super Bowl week in Indianapolis was our opportunity to attend the GQ party.  Every year, GQ throws a large invite-only Super Bowl party in the host city.  Did I know this two months ago?  No, but thanks to an amazingly fortuitous work connection a couple weeks prior, Lynne and I found ourselves on the guest list.

The event was held at the Stutz Building, about one mile north of the Super Bowl Village, which kept the event a little mysterious and private.  Co-hosted by GQ and Lacoste, and sponsored by Patron, we knew there’d be a variety of celebrities in attendance, but since it was invite-only, there wasn’t a lot publicized ahead of time since they didn’t need to sell tickets.  All we knew was that QuestLove (from The Roots) was going to deejay, and LL Cool J would be performing.  Just as a frame of reference, buying a ticket to some of the other Super Bowl parties ran $800 - $1,000, and the reviews for those events were quite mixed since people were packed in shoulder to shoulder with little access to the famous folks.

We had a fantastic time at the event.  Celebrities walked the red carpet and got interviewed but then were fairly accessibly to meet.  We didn’t take that many pictures since it was dark and we only had Lynne’s iPhone camera, and honestly, taking pics seemed a little tacky since this wasn’t your average fan event.  They served a lot of decent hors d’oeuvres throughout the evening and sponsor Patron provided tons of fancy tequila cocktails. 

So what celebrities did we meet and see?  When we first arrived, Hines Ward was on the red carpet (I later had the chance to talk with him), and we quickly got our bearings.  The venue wasn’t that large, so it was easy to stand up top in the back and survey to see who you wanted to meet.  As we were doing so, I noticed that directly to my right was Purdue’s Curtis Painter.  I gave him a quick “Boiler Up” and handshake but really had nothing more to say.  I’ve met Painter before, and as we continued to walk around the venue I realized that no one was talking to him, likely because he’s not that famous in comparison, not as recognizable, and people in Indianapolis (who aren’t Purdue fans) probably don’t really like him.

Patron had set up a giant photo studio to get professional photos taken, complete with swanky props and Patron bottles.  We had a lot of fun doing that, and you can see some of the evidence below (way nicer than our iPhone photos).  Lacoste set up an area to create custom screen-printed Super Bowl shirts, so we made a couple and took some home for our generous babysitters who we kept up quite late.

Since Lacoste co-sponsored the event, Andy Roddick, one of their biggest endorsements, attended the event, and as a tennis geek I was quite excited.  I had the chance to say hi a couple times, but you could tell that he wasn’t too excited to be there.  It’s not like he wasn’t having fun (he really enjoyed LL Cool J’s set), he just seemed tired.  His wife, model Brooklyn Decker, on the other hand, might have had more fun than anyone.  She was very nice and apparently quite big pals with Erin Andrews.  Near the end of the evening I did try to get a picture with Erin but got shot down, boo!  She may or may not have been quite intoxicated (trying not to get sued here), and you can see she and Brooklyn have quite the red carpet conversation.  I actually lose major man points as upon her arrival, Erin and Brooklyn walked right past me (I had to help them get to Roddick in the front row), and I didn’t even realize who they were even as Erin stepped on my foot.  That’s how transfixed I was on LL Cool J’s fantastic set that got the crowd really enthused.

Ah, LL, what can we say.  He was honestly the nicest person we met the entire night, and I seriously think he was treated like the biggest celebrity there (maybe that’s due to his two gigantic bodyguards though).  Lynne was able to get a picture with him because he seemed to be the only celeb that it was cool to do that with, and even Roddick was getting his picture with LL.

I also got to meet Greg Jennings from the Packers (took me all night to figure out who he was), guys from The Roots (who were in attendance to watch their boy QuestLove deejay), and Troy Aikman (firmest hand shake of my life).  Troy spent a significant portion of the night chatting with Erin Andrews, quite closely if I might add.  They must be great friends (still trying to be careful not to get sued with what I write here).

Hines Ward didn’t seem to be having too much fun, and it was funny to see him (and others) avoid getting pictures taken with their dates, I suppose to avoid the gossip columns.  I also struck up a conversation with a gentleman as we waited for the restroom, only to discover it was the Lacoste CEO.  Yes, I already reached out to him about connecting with DC.org.

Other celebs we saw but didn’t talk to: JR Martinez (Dancing with the Stars), Terrell Owens, David Arquette, Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Peter Berg, Giants owner Steve Tisch, and former Miss Indiana/USA finalist Brittany Mason. We left as the party was winding down and apparently missed Adam Levine (Maroon 5).

Lynne and I were both disappointed that Jon Hamm (Mad Men) didn’t show up.  We had heard he might attend, and I had prepared a great opening line to meet him, but he got held up at the Playboy party, go figure.

On the way out we ran into Guy Fieri, which was fun, and I gave him a little secret ATO love (he’s an Alpha Tau Omega alum from UNLV), and he totally got it and replied, “You too…brother!”  Overall we both had a great time at this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Lynne did an admirable job keeping me from looking too stalker-ish.

You can see much higher quality pictures at the GQ site: (you can see Lynne and I in the front left of the first pic, in my tan blazer).

Pictures from the Patron photo booth

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Son of Man, anyone?


Walking the red carpet (after all the famous people had)


Does “LL” stand for “Lynne Loves” Cool J?  He insisted that his sunglasses be on for every photo, but was far more down to earth when you talked to him


Even Andy Roddick was excited to get his picture taken with LL.  Check out one of his two huge bodyguards staring me down.


Brooklyn Decker looking happy the entire night


 IMG_0965 Erin Andrews and Troy Aikman spent a lot of time talking


QuestLove was a great deejay


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