Originally published on USAToday.com February 2016
SAN FRANCISCO — On the eve of the Super Bowl, 10 couples will have the opportunity to descend into the basement of a 20,000-square foot mansion withJoe Montana.
There, three of Montana’s most famous plays will be projected onto a big-screen TV and the Hall-of-Fame quarterback will narrate. The VIP guests will get a football autographed by Montana, a football autographed by another Hall of Famer and tickets to the Carolina Panthers-Denver Broncos matchup at Super Bowl 50. For that exclusive package, each couple will pay $32,000.
Only $18,000 if the couple already has Super Bowl tickets.
The private viewing of Montana’s plays and live seals will be two of the big draws Saturday night at the “Big Game Big Give” Super Bowl party aiming to raise more than $1 million for charity. Montana, who won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, is co-host with Matt Williams, former slugger with the San Francisco Giants. Jay Leno will serve as emcee.
USA TODAY is one of the party’s sponsor.
“I just spoke to Jay on the phone yesterday,’’ said Marc Pollick, president and founder of The Giving Back Fund that is the lead sponsor of the annual party, “and he said, ‘Do you have an X-rated crowd, an R-rated crowd, PG-13 or is it G-rated. I said, ‘Well, somewhere between PG-13 and and NC-17.’ He has a few jokes up his sleeve about Matt and Joe.’’
Williams and Montana got acquainted long before the Super Bowl reached middle age. Their careers in San Francisco overlapped between 1987 and 1992, and Williams said he periodically attended 49ers practices and games.
“Joe’s been a hero of mine, for sure,’’ Williams said. “The way he practiced was just like the way he played in the game. … I always admired him and the tenacity with which he played.’’
Last year Williams hosted the Super Bowl party at his home in Arizona and “Big Game Big Give” became the first charitable Super Bowl party to raise more than $1 million, according to Pollick. He said he expects to eclipse last year’s figure of $1.2 million, thanks in part to Montana’s presence.
“Joe is in big demand the Super Bowl,’’ Pollick said. “He’s like Mr. Super Bowl. So getting him on Saturday night was a pretty big prize.’’
The allotment of 500 invitation-only tickets cost $3,000 apiece. At least another 100 spots will be reserved for athletes and entertainers, according to Pollick, who said in past year attendees have included Alec Baldwin, Mark Walberg and Chris Rock.
Montana said this was a rare opportunity for him and his wife, Jennifer, to do something for charity during Super Bowl week.
“It’s still a party and everybody’s going to have fun, but the proceeds are going to the right places,’’ Montana told USA TODAY Sports. “Typically, we don’t do things in public for charity because we feel like if you’re doing it for charity, you shouldn’t get anything back for it.
“But this is something where we had an opportunity to actually make a big check that would go into the foundation that we could do a lot of things with.’’
Other than Montana and A-list celebrities, the biggest draw might be live seals. Nine rooms at the four-acre estate owned by venture capitalist Jillian Manus will be themed with a different area of California, where seals congregate on the Bay Area coastline.
Auction items will include a day on the closed set of Blade Runner in Budapest withHarrison Ford and Ryan Gosling and a yacht ride that ends at Giants Stadium, where the winning bidders get four seats behind home plate and the day after the game head to wine country and for four days stay at one of the top wineries in Napa Valley.
The money raised Saturday night will be to the Stanford Cancer Institute, Montana’s Four Rings Foundation and the Giving Back Fund. For those who think $32,000 for a half hour with Montana narrating three famous plays is too much money, Pollick said there’s something to consider.
“Tax-deductible,’’ he said.