Arash Markazi
Sunday February 3rd, 2008

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- There would be no calm before the Super Bowl storm this year. The week leading up to the game was a constant whirlwind of celebrities and athletes walking red carpets, shouting across open bars and huddling around countless heat lamps and fire pits as temperatures dipped below 30 degrees in the desert. Despite the unusually frigid temperatures when the set went down, the stage was set for arguably one of the wildest Super Bowl party weeks ever and's Arash Markazi was once again on the scene to provide a report on every super soiree.

Olive & Ivey, Scottsdale

On The List: Matt Leinart, Nick Lachey, Kurt Warner, Brody Jenner, Steven Jackson, Ken Wisenhunt, Shawne Merriman, Keith Bullock, Marshawn Lynch, Tom Chambers, Sean Salisbury, Deuce Lutui, Neil Rackers, Nick Folk, Bron Heussenstamm, Darrell Rideux, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Miller, Luis Castillo

On The Scene: Leinart kicked off his whirlwind schedule during Super Bowl week by throwing a welcome party at an upscale restaurant overlooking the Scottsdale waterfront with a few hundred of his closest friends. The exclusive get-together also raised money for his foundation when Leinart held a live auction, although he had to scream over the boisterous crowd to get their attention. At one point he had to start picking out his friends and making them bid on the items, ranging from an autographed USC helmet to a diamond encrusted gold watch. "We need Coach Wisenhunt to start bidding on items," Leinart said as Wisenthunt simply raised his beer in acknowledgement from the back of the room. "Where's Shawne Merriman? I know he wants something." Leinart then brought Nick Lachey and auctioned him off for a night of bowling causing Brody Jenner to laugh. "We want Matt," he said. "Auction off Matt."

On The Scale: 7/10

A very low-key affair with family and friends that ended around 11 p.m., earlier than most would have liked, but allowed Leinart and others to head out to the other parties taking place around Scottsdale.

Myst, Scottsdale

On The List: Ashlee Simpson, Pete Wentz, Joe Simpson, Brody Jenner, Luis Castillo, Terrell Owens, Matt Leinart, Bron Heussenstamm, Nick Folk.

On The Scene: After leaving his party, Leinart got into an Escalade with his friends and headed over to Myst to watch Ashlee Simpson from a VIP room overlooking the stage. As he settled into his booth, chatting with his friends, a bouncer apologized to Leinart and told him that the booth he was in had already been reserved and that bottle service was already paid for, causing an awkward moment for the unofficial host of the Super Bowl. "That's fine," said Leinart as he got up. "I understand." Moments later Terrell Owens, wearing sunglasses, walked into the dimly lit room with an entourage that included Cowboys kicker Nick Folk. "How you feeling, how's the collarbone?" Owens asked Leinart as he gave him a hug. "It's good," said Leinart. Soon after, Leinart gathered his crew and headed out of the club during Simpson's performance, everyone mutually agreeing that they weren't missing much.

On The Scale: 4/10

Saying Ashlee Simpson is a terrible live performer would be misleading since she mostly lip-syncs, but getting booted from the VIP room ended up being a blessing in disguise for Leinart and his group as everyone was spared from listening to her piercing pre-recorded voice and were able to party back at the Mondrian.

Martini Ranch, Scottsdale

On The List: Plaxico Burress, Kellen Winslow, Shawne Merriman, Laurence Maroney, Chad Johnson, Jason Witten, Patrick Willis, Ben Roethlisberger, Luis Castillo, Donnie Edwards, Jon Beason, Antonio Gates, Derek Anderson, Tony Gonzalez, Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Luis Gonzalez, Royce Clayton, Dontrelle Willis, Mario Williams, Joe Montana, Dwight Clark, Matt Hasselbeck, Donovan McNabb, Akin Ayodele, Willis McGahee, Chris Berman, Matt Leinart.

On The Scene: Laurence Maroney whispered the unthinkable before the Madden Bowl even began. "I have to lose," he said. "I don't want to win." The statement actually made sense for the tailback of the undefeated Patriots. The clock was creeping past 9 p.m. and towards his curfew and Maroney, wearing Kool-Aid orange clothing from head to toe, was still inside of the club playing video games against Willis McGahee, who would eventually go on to win Madden Bowl XIV. After the Patriots lost (at least virtually) for the first time this season, Maroney smiled as he rushed out of the club and back to the team hotel. "I had to lose," he said. "I don't want to know what would happen if I broke curfew."

On The Scale: 9/10

A couple of the best visuals of the week took place towards the end of the party. There was Donovan McNabb dancing around the dance floor like a robot while a friend raised the back of his jacket as if he were a puppet and Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and Chris Berman sitting in a VIP booth with a bevy of beauties surrounding them. Montana seem resigned to the possibility that images of his night on the town might end up online. "It seems like everyone has a camera on these," he said picking up his cell phone. "You can't do anything privately anymore."

The Audi Forum, Phoenix

On The List: Adrian Grenier, Darnell Dockett, Donovan McNabb, Dontrelle Willis, Gabrielle Union, Jason Biggs, Jerry O'Connell, Jim Brown, Kevin Sorbo, Maria Menounos, Milly Sims, Ovie Mughelli, Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh), Ronnie Lott, Tommie Harris, Braylon Edwards.

On The Scene: While Hyde Lounge, Hollywood's most exclusive nightclub, was a sought-after destination during after hours during Super Bowl weekend, it was the backdrop for the Audi Hole-in-One Challenge for Charity during the day. The event took place on a nine-acre private estate, complete with cabanas, DJs and an Audi RJ sitting on a glass plate above the pool. Ronnie Lott won the challenge, placing his ball two inches closer to the hole than Jason Biggs. "I didn't have an extra two inches," said the American Pie star afterwards. "Story of my life."

On The Scale: 8/10

A perfect afternoon house party with a nice mix of celebrities and athletes, highlighted by Adrian Grenier of Entourage telling Dontrelle Willis to get in a group picture, prompting Willis to say, "There are no celebrity baseball players. Maybe [Derek] Jeter, but that's it.

944 Village, Scottsdale

On The List: Paris Hilton, Alice Cooper, Mekhi Phifer, Boomer Esiason, Dan Majre, Jaime Gold, Jerry Yang, Jared Fogle, Matt Williams, Eric Byrnes, Greg Raymer, Ben Olson, DeAngelo Hall.

On The Scene: The celebrity poker tournament lost a bit of its luster when Jared from Subway took a seat along with the rest of the "celebrities" in attendance, but after being the first one eliminated he returned to his new diet for the week -- free drinks from the open bar. At least they didn't paint over a portrait of him as they did of Gold, the 2006 World Series of Poker Champion. "They thought I wasn't coming so they painted over my face," he said. "They said they'd fix but I told them to keep it. It looks better that way."

On The Scale: 6/10

It was a nice effort, but the muted poker affair came off as more forced than a relaxing night at the tables. Nothing drove that home better than watching Alice Copper be escorted down the red carpet with two women and being asked to put his arms around them. "This brings out the dad in me," he said. "And the dad says, 'Put on a jacket.'"

Scottsdale Performing Arts Center

On The List: LaDanian Thomlinson, Jerry Porter, Antoine Bethea, Maurice Jones-Drew, Lance Briggs, Raja Bell, Josh Duhammel, Ludacris, Ciarra, Spike Lee and Jared Fogel (yes, he gets around).

On The Scene: The World Wide Leader's shindig was a swanky gathering in a collection of tents set up in the grassy knoll of the Scottsdale Performing Arts Center highlighted by a live concert from Ludacris and Ciara. Jerry Porter, wearing a 100-carat diamond cross on a diamond chain, showed off his bling to a couple of Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders during the party after one asked about the equally impressive "Million Dollar" belt he wore to camp while he was holding out for money. "Oh yeah, that one got me in a lot of trouble," he said. "I don't wear that anymore."

On The Scale: 7/10

A great party in terms of space and accessibility to open bars, but with Maxim throwing their party at the same time, getting anyone but hired talent to stay longer than they had to was a thankless task. Even their honoree of the night, Joba Chamberlain, was unable to attend.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

On The List: Adrian Grenier, Akon, Brent Bolthouse, Charlie O'Connell, Ludacris, Christopher "McLovin" Mintz-Plasse, Chuck Liddell, Cindy Crawford, Dallas Austin, David Spade, Emmitt Smith, Evander Holyfield, Geoff Stults, Grant Hill, Heidi Montag, Ian Ziering, Jerry O'Connell, Jillian Barberie, Jim McMahon, John Elway, Jonathon Cheban, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Sorbo, Kim Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari, Kyle Boller, Larry David, Marcus Allen, Maria Menounos, Mario Lopez, Matt Leinart, Michael Bay, Michael Clarke Duncan, Michael Rosenbum, Ne-Yo, Nick Lachey, Phoenix Farrell, Rande Gerber, Reggie Bush, Rhys Coiro, Rick Fox, Ramy Malco, Ryan Seacrest, P. Diddy, Shawn Marion, Spencer Pratt, Stacy Keibler, Steve Nash, Steve Young, T-Pain, Tamera Mowry, Terrell Owens, Terry Crews, Tom Arnold, Vanessa Minnillo, Tom Petty.

On The Scene: Maxim completely took over one of the nicest resorts in Arizona and the result was hands down the best Super Bowl party this year and one of the best in years. Despite the size of the resort's pool area and lounges, every inch was brimming with celebrities and athletes. The evening began with Giants owner Steve Tisch and his group skipping the red carpet entrance and sneaking in through the back and walking through a walkway sphere of plasma televisions. Surrounded by A-Listers, however, Tisch was most excited to meet Terry Crews, tapping the actor -- who had no idea who Tisch was -- on the shoulder. "Hi, Terry, Steve Tisch, owner of the Giants," said Tisch. "I'm a big fan of your work." Crews then stopped and jokingly bowed down to Tisch. Braylon Edwards was also a bit star-struck when he saw "McLovin," who was sitting in an outdoor VIP booth around a fire pit with Carson Palmer. "Hey, Braylon," said Palmer. "Say hi to McLovin." Edwards face lit up as he shook McLovin's hand and said. "I must have seen your movie 100 times," said Edwards. "You're the best. I am McLovin. I love it."

On The Scale: 10/10

In every aspect the best Super Bowl party this year. Best guest list, best venue, best atmosphere. Every where you turned there was a celebrity; whether it was Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian making out at the Stone Rose Lounge, John Elway squeezing down a staircase to the pool area, Steve Nash dancing with his teammates as a waitress brings the Suns' VIP table a tray full of beers and P. Diddy dancing in a cabana while DJ AM controls the turntables. It was the one party that every celebrity in town attended even if they had to be somewhere else.

944/Tao House, Scottsdale

On The List: Benji Madden, Brody Jenner, DJ AM, Dylan Walsh, Frankie Delgado, Geoff Stults, Ian Ziering, Julian McMahon, Kevin Connolly, Kristin Cavalleri, Phoenix Farrell, Ryan Seacrest, Stacy Keibler, Shawn Marion, Kyle Boller, Josh Booty, Roy Williams (Detroit Lions), Khloe Kardashian, Bron Heussenstamm, Dan Majerle.

On The Scene: White vans shuttled celebrities from a Scottsdale church parking lot to this sprawling mansion up in the hills overlooking Scottsdale. From the moment parties began finishing up around 2 a.m. until sunrise, the House of Hennessy catered to the need for athletes and entertainers to party. Professional surfer Bron Heussenstamm used the serene setting to officially retire from surfing to pursue a career managing surfers. He celebrated the decision by nearly tackling Brody Jenner on the dance floor.

On The Scale: 9/10

The best house party of Super Bowl week and also the surprise choice as the best after-hours spot, beating out Hyde, which came into the week as the odds on favorite. In the end a mansion with sprawling views of the desert beat out the dark tent in the back of private residence.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix

On The List: Jerry Jones, Warren Moon, Brent Jones, Tank Johnson, Ray Brown, Jerry Tarkanian, Steve Clarkson, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano

On The Scene: The former super agent went with a green theme for his party and in the spirit of protecting our environment and the animals, he put on oversized protective glove and held an eagle and released it into the wild. The overanxious eagle, however, nearly took out a dozen people standing around Steinberg and almost flew into a nearby power line. Thankfully, no one was hurt and Steinber was able to joke, "Don't worry, this isn't a slasher movie," as he raised his glove. "No one's going to get hurt."

On The Scale: 7/10

Steinberg's annual party is old school in every sense of the word. It's the longest-running annual Super Bowl party -- this year marked the 22nd anniversary -- and the afternoon soiree attracts mostly an aging group of guests from retired players to business associates. That said, few hosts are as gracious as Steinberg, who stood by the green carpet for most of the afternoon welcoming guests and shaking everyone's hand.

The Galleria Corporate Centre, Scottsdale

On The List: John Travolta, Marshall Faulk, Evander Holyfield, Jerry Jones, Wade Phillips, Alfonso Ribeiro, Michael Bay, R.E.O. Speedwagon.

On The Scene: With circus acts ranging from a woman in a plastic sphere and a man bouncing around on stilts paraded around the lobby of the Galleria, Travolta and Faulk hosted one of the swankier soirees with tickets going for $1,700. The dance floor at the Spectacular was easily the most entertaining of the week. Evander Holyfield did his best James Brown impersonation as soon as Sex Machine came on, Wade Phillips did his own rendition of Soulja Boy as soon as it came on, to the delight of Jerry Jones, who was sitting with Phillips in a VIP booth with their wives. Both Jones and Phillips grabbed their wives and hit the dance floor as soon as the DJ started playing LL Cool J's Don't Call It A Comeback. While Jones glided around the stage, at one point even attempting a moonwalk, Phillips moved from side to side to the delight of former Cowboys offensive lineman Marco Rivera, who watched from a distance.

On The Scale: 8/10

There might not have been an abundance of star power on the red carpet, but any time you can see Jones and Phillips tear up on the dance floor and spend some time with Travolta, who greeted most of the guests as he walked into the party, you've done all right.

The Pavilion at Wild Horse Pass, Chandler

On The List: Hugh Hefner, Kendra Wilkinson, Holly Madison, Bridget Marquardt, Common, Alyssa Milano, Nick Cannon, Helio Castroneves, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Tiki Barber, Bradley Cooper, McLovin, Justin Fargas, Derek Anderson, Vernon Davis, Maurice Jones-Drew.

On The Scene: The longest party commute also provided the strongest outdoor odor as the smell of manure permeated outside the Playboy tent at the Wild Horse Pass. Those who braved the drive and the stench, however, were rewarded with a typically eventful Playboy Super Saturday Night affair. The raised VIP level in the back of the tent housed the DJ booth manned by Nick Cannon and booths occupied by the boy from Entourage, the girls from The Hills and Hugh Hefner's Girls Next Door. The most popular person at the party, however, was McLovin, who was hounded by Playboy Bunnies throughout the night and at one point went to the DJ booth and yelled, "Party f----ing hard, motherf---ers!"

On The Scale: 9/10

While Playboy usually competes for the title of "Best Super Bowl Party," it dropped the ball early on by staging the event in Chandler, about a 45-minute drive from Scottsdale, the epicenter of the Super Bowl party scene. Most celebrities who would have normally gone to the party decided to stay closer to home and not deal with the commute and traffic to and from the tented affair.

As the clock struck midnight, Hefner got up from his booth and raised the arms of his Girls Next Door and bowed out of his party "early," signaling the beginning of Super Sunday and the end of the week of parties that preceded it. The attention focused on the larger than life parties spawned by the larger than life game could best be summed up by the reaction one body-painted bunny had after someone suggested to her that Hefner left the party to get some rest before the "big game."

"What game?" she asked. "What's going on?"

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