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Sex and the Super Bowl Trend

DETROIT – Leave it to the sex merchants to exploit the spotlight surrounding Super Bowl XL. The days leading up to the big game saw a profusion of promotions ranging from the cheesy to the sleazy.

The Lingerie Bowl pushed its pay-per-view event featuring skimpily dressed female footballers engaged in the “Ultimate Catfight” – as well one-time Super Bowl hero William “The Refrigerator” Perry lumbering onto the field in women’s uniform. Porn queen Jenna Jameson threw her first Super Bowl party Friday night. Men’s magazines Playboy, Penthouse, Maxim and FHM cashed in by throwing celebrity parties.

But author Shannon O’Toole said these events “demeaned” female football fans, who now make up 43% of the NFL fan base. “Women football fans watch football for the game. They respect the players,” said O’Toole, author of the new book Wedded to the Game: The Real Lives of NFL Women.

Woe to the guys who fire up the Lingerie Bowl next to some of the real female football fans O’Toole interviewed for her book. “They would not sit there and watch that,” noted O’Toole, who’s married to former NFL player turned coach John Morton.

Some examples of the sex and the Super Bowl trend this year:

•Say it ain’t so Fridge.The Lingerie Bowl counter-programmed the Super Bowl’s halftime show for the third consecutive year. Viewers willing to fork over $19.95 for the 90-minute special could watch the Los Angeles Temptation go head-to-head with the New York Euphoria. The women players invaded Super Bowl headquarters this week to promote the event sponsored by Bodog.com.

The Lingerie Bowl features a variety of washed-up stars and C-List celebrities. Jim McMahon and Willie Gault of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears were scheduled to serve as “honorary coaches” alongside hosts Jenny McCarthy and Cindy Margolis. Star-crossed Long Island lovebirds Joey Buttafuoco and Amy Fisher were supposed to meet again at the 50-yard line for the coin flip, said Lingerie Bowl creator Mitch Mortaza.

Twenty years after scoring a touchdown in Super Bowl XX, Perry was supposed to suit up in a women’s lingerie uniform bearing his former Bears number of 72. When McMahon or Gault’s teams reached the enemy 5-yard line, they were allowed to bring in the Fridge for a single play to re-enact his TD plunge. The game was held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: home of Super Bowl I.

•Jenna Bowl. The porn industry loves to piggyback on popular entertainment. Is it any surprise that porn star Jameson threw her own party here Friday that competed with bashes by mainstream celebrities such as P. Diddy?

Jameson’s company ClubJenna and adult studio Vivid Entertainment charged $500 for admission; $1,000 for the VIP section. The porn star noted in a statement that the Super Bowl “attracts tens of thousands of testosterone-charged guys from all over the country.”

Vivid spokeswoman Jackie Martin said it was the “first time Vivid and Club Jenna have gotten together to put on a party at a sports event.”

•Playboy vs. Maxim Despite Saturday night bashes thrown by the likes of Magic Johnson and Terrell Owens, the two hottest tickets were for bashes thrown by Playboy and Maxim. But access wasn’t cheap: tickets for the two bashes were sold by ticket brokers for $1,000-$3,000 a pop; about the same price range as scalped tickets for Sunday’s game at Ford Field.

Maxim had to apologize for an e-mail solicitation that urged female attendees to wear their skimpiest outfits and leave their ugly friends at home.

Many weekend parties attract current and former players. But former Super Bowl MVP Jim Plunkett told USA TODAY on Friday that any Super Bowl players who went out partying the Saturday before the game should have their heads examined. “The player’s focus should be on the game. That’s what they get paid to do. Leave the extracurriculars until after the game,” Plunkett said.

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