NFL Owners Party Hard in River Oaks: Inside the Super Bowl’s Most Exclusive Event
The Gatlin Brothers lead Janice and Bob McNair in 'Deep in the Heart of Texas.'
Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell , Houston Texans director Ryan Reichert
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Joanna & Brad Marks
Sallie Sargent, Gov. Greg Abbott, Ric Campo and Keith Oden
The family of Los Angeles Chargers owner Alex Spanos
Cal & Hannah McNair, Janice & Bob McNair
This was one Super Bowl party to which only a select few could have access. Credentials for entry to the River Oaks Country Club ballroom on this night were quite simple — NFL ownership.
Janice and Bob McNair hosted the annual owner’s dinner, an elite group so difficult to break into that it makes obtaining River Oaks membership look like an open call. The heady contingent arrived in Town Cars, Escalades and limos in an impromptu motorcade down River Oaks Boulevard that looked like a presidential arrival.
The hospitality poured on by the McNairs was indeed worthy of a head of state, in this case the potentates of the NFL empire.
Two Texas longhorns graced the grassy lawn at the country club entrance, the first indication for arrivals that there just might be a Lone Star theme to the evening. That impression was confirmed with the presence of a team from Cavender’s, providing custom-fit western hats for all that attended. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his daughter, Charlotte Jones Anderson, opted for white hats. Most all among the 280 guests (owner families and staff included) took advantage of the opportunity and sported their hats throughout dinner.
Both the menu and the entertainment honored Texas with River Oaks Country Club chef Charles Carroll sourcing all ingredients from the state including the maple cured Texas Diamond Cross quail, the charbroiled beef tenderloin and pan-seared Gulf red snapper and the country club’s legendary pecan ball.
Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers along with Clay Walker kicked off the entertainment during which guests were encouraged to sing along as the McNairs joined the band on stage for “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” The words to the song were printed on the program.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and most of the NFL team owners, including the Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur Blank, were in attendance. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, Chicago Bears owner George McCaskey, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, New York Giants owner John Mara and Kansas City Chiefs owner Norma Hunt and her son/team chairman Clark Hunt all got into the party spirit.
Among the honchos that passed muster without NFL ownership or family connections were Gov. Greg Abbott, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Super Bowl Host Committee CEO Sallie Sargent and committee chairman Ric Campo.