SAN FRANCISCO - The Saturday brunch on the 39th floor of the Marriott Marquis here was a swanky affair.
Out the soaring floor-to-ceiling windows: views of the sparkling bay and the some of the nation’s most valuable real estate.
Corporate honchos from the Mayo Clinic to Polaris and Land O’Lakes were among the crowd, along with two Minneapolis police department brass and two sheriff’s deputies.
Minneapolis City Coordinator Spencer Cronk was there with Melvin Tennant of Meet Minneapolis, the city’s convention bureau.
Corner Table chef Thomas Boemer and business partner Nick Rancone moved through the crowd.
Several Vikings executives were there, including owner Mark Wilf and his teenage son, Andrew.
But the true sign of the shindig’s significance was the presence of U.S. Bank President Richard Davis.
His company purchased the naming rights from the Wilfs to the new Vikings stadium. The price has not been made public, but published estimates put it at more than $100 million.
Davis, along with Marilyn Carlson Nelson, heir of the Carlson Cos. travel empire, led the Super Bowl bid in Atlanta almost two years ago.
The two are honorary chairs of the Super Bowl Host Committee.
Carlson, who wasn’t in San Francisco, sent her regrets via Davis.
Davis quipped that two years from the day, the Minnesita Super Bowl crew wouldn’t be drinking the mimosas and bloody mary’s flowing at the Marriott event because everyone would be too busy putting on the event.
He heaped praise on Wilf and his family for purchasing the Vikings in 2005, crediting them for the success of landing the 2018 Super Bowl.
The new $1.1 billion Vikings stadium is the “crown jewel” of downtown Minneapolis, Davis said.
Then he introduced Wilf, who thanked Davis for his “vision.”
Wilf called out many in the crowd from the Vikings and other corporations. “The great example of football is teamwork,” Wilf said.
He noted the members of the Houston Super Bowl 2017 Committee in attendance.
“You’re going to raise the bar and we’re going to raise it even higher,” he said of the event.
Wilf called the Super Bowl a “great event” in a “great country.”
He said the Vikings will “help every way we can to make this a great event.”
He noted the presence of his young son at the event and how he would carry on the family’s work.
He closed by saying, “make sure you have fun along the ride. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
The closer was former Viking Matt Birk, a Minnesota native and now an NFL executive in New York.
Birk has been controversial for his political views, including an Op-Ed he wrote in 2012 supporting a Minnesota constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which led to a bit of sotto vice grumbling from a corner.
At the microphone, Birk was all good cheer, humor and NFL pride.
“Football makes people better and it brings communities together like nothing else,” Birk said.
He called the Super Bowl the ”biggest secular holiday that we have, with people gathering to watch games.
He paraphrased Nelson Mandela, who once said nothing brings people together like sports.
“If Nelson Mandela was an American, he would have said, ‘nothing brings people together like football.’ ” Birk said.
After the event Vikings Executive Vice President Lester Bagley said the event was one of the best he had attended because it had heart and team spirit.
“These are the early organizers and leaders of a major event for our community — the world’s premier event,” he said. “This group has its sleeves rolled up to deliver.”
When the speakers wrapped, Birk and TV celebrity Andrew Zimmern embraced and posed for photos.
Davis left before the game Sunday to catch a plane for a Dow Chemical board meeting in Saudi Arabia.