The Fifth floor of Tiffany & Co. is a state — and really a world away — from Metlife Stadium, but early on Saturday morning it welcomed some of the NFL’s most important, if less recognizable faces.
“Tiffany’s is the happy place,” says Suzanne Johnson, wife of Jets
owner Woody Johnson who along with the Giants’ Mara and Tisch families
are playing host to the team owners’ wives at the Big Apple landmark.
“Growing up we all watched ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ and it’s the
most iconic jewelry store,” says Johnson in a cashmere Donna Karan
While football fans have been sharpening their elbows to edge their
way into buzzy parties — like the star-studded Maxim soiree — in hopes
of catching a glimpse of a Victoria’s Secret model or an NFL
quarterback, the team owners have an even more exclusive itinerary.
There was the owner’s dinner at the Mandarin Oriental on Thursday
night emceed by Jimmy Fallon. Lorne Michaels, Mayor de Blasio, and
former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue also attended the
Jean-George Vongerichten-catered affair. Singer Janelle Monae performed
at The Roseland Ballroom and Friday night’s dinner was at the Museum of
Natural History, where John Mayer entertained.
The day before the big game, slim and prim NFL first ladies, many
with Southern accents, are sipping bellinis and mimosas, sniffing the
rarefied Fifth Avenue air and savoring a moment of unity between the 32
“There always is an undercurrent of competition, no matter what
anybody tells you. We’re friends for 364 days a year but not the day
we’re playing,” says Johnson adding “You can’t hate the people. These
are your partners but there’s always that undercurrent of, darn ‘I want
to beat them.’ Anyone who tells you anything else is lying.”
One woman who clearly agrees is Ann Mara, the outspoken matriarch of the Mara clan (grandmother of actresses Rooney and Kate).
Though her beloved Giants aren’t playing, she’s not shy about her Sunday allegiance.
“I have to root for Peyton Manning. He’s a member of the family,” says Mara who is crowing about the successful Super Bowl week.
“Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves so much. Every owner has
come up to me and said, ‘boy what a great job you people are doing.’
That’s rare,” she says.
The one interloper is Katie Couric. Clad in a sleeveless black dress,
she is leading a Q&A for the ladies while they dine on lobster
frittata squares and smoked salmon tea sandwiches. Each woman will take
home a Tiffany leather wristlet as a party favor.
“I wish they stretched all of these events to Super Bowl month,” says
Couric who attended Friday’s Mary J. Blige concert and Howard Stern’s
Since the families are scattered across the country, this is a rare moment for them to be in the same room.
Normally, the wives correspond with each other on their Yammer, which is a secret online forum open only to them.
“It’s just for the women, so we can do more of this and share what
we’re doing our respective clubs,” explains Johnson, who is also a
league ambassador for their apparel line.
Or commiserate on the trials of being an owner’s wife.
“You know what’s really hard? Your husband works his butt off. It’s a
huge part of the family. For some families it’s their entire business.
So you just can’t let this blow into the wind. And you’re juggling your
You’re juggling his schedule and your family. You’re juggling traveling to these games on a weekly basis,” says Johnson.
An upbeat Charlotte Jones Anderson, the daughter of Cowboys owner
Jerry Jones is chatting with Tanya Snyder, who is married to Redskins
owner Daniel Snyder. They’re both wearing almost identical Alaia
“It’s hard to top ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s absolutely my
favorite movie of all time,” says Jones. Minutes later she can think of
something to better than this dainty soiree—seeing her Cowboys play for
this year’s Lombardi Trophy.
“You know there’s some sadness for many of us. Most of us, I should
say, who aren’t actually playing. I think we’d rather be working than
having breakfast. It’s extremely frustrating. This is my happy face for
the party. The real face I had to leave behind,” she adds.
And if you’re Denver owner, Pat Bowlen’s wife Annabel Bowlen, the posh festivities are interrupted by looming game day jitters.
“We’ve really enjoyed ourselves this week, but it’s hard to not to be
nervous,” says Bowlen, a petite former figure skater. She is flanked by
her 24-year-old daughter Brittany who is now working for the NFL in New
York City. “I just have to support my husband and say some prayers.”
And though many of them have support roles within their
organizations, one woman will gladly tell you who is really holds the
“My son [Giants’ co-owner John Mara] tells me that I have to behave. I tell people, ‘I’m his boss.’.” quips Ann Mara.