Top ads offer better contest than Bowl

This year’s Super Bowl was not exactly a nail-biter. Despite my roommate yelling “Kill him!” every time a Raider caught a pass, the 10 of us watching together lost most of our enthusiasm by the second half. If you’re like us, once the game was no longer in doubt, you focused on more important things: the commercials.

The evening began in a promising fashion with a witty Budweiser ad (see below), but the commercials quickly began to mirror Oakland’s lackluster play.

Pepsi, which had such a strong tradition of good commercials, was by far the biggest disappointment. The ad with the Osbournes and Osmonds was simply disturbing, and nobody wants to think about their parents in a mosh pit.

And congratulations to Dodge for providing us with the grossest commercial.

The guy choking on beef jerky definitely made us all think twice about reaching for another slice of pizza.

Nevertheless, there were some highlights. Gauging how loud we laughed at each ad, we chose and ranked our top five commercials. Honorable mention goes to ESPN for giving us another classic SportsCenter ad starring Joe Montana, but we felt it didn’t quite make the cut. It takes something special to be a good Super Bowl commercial. The five ads below all subtly (or not-so-subtly) poked fun at some part of popular culture. It takes nuance, wit and, really, inane stupidity to make it on football’s biggest stage.

So, without further ado, the top five commercials of Super Bowl XXXVII:

5. Coors Light, “Here’s to the Remote.” To avoid being shot by the male contingent of the room, I felt compelled to give this ad its due. Taking “I love football on TV,” the unofficial theme song of the 2002 NFL season, the people at Coors Light fast-forwarded and rewound the video to the shots of those now-famous twins. It was a fitting end to a brilliant ad campaign, during which the song got radio airplay and even a spoof on SportsCenter.

4. Fed Ex, “Cast Away.” A man stranded on a desert island is finally rescued and delivers the Fed Ex package he was saving. What was in the box?

A cell phone with Global Positioning Systems, a water purifier and seeds.

All the commercial was missing was the return of Tom Hanks’ island companion, Wilson the volleyball.

3. The Visa Check Card, “Tiki and Ronde Barber.” In an update of an old ad, the salesgirl notes that while Ronde is playing in the Super Bowl, Tiki is only a spectator. Kudos to Tiki for being a good sport, especially after his team got gypped out of the playoffs. While Tiki and Ronde put in memorable performances, the best celebrity appearance of the evening was by Houston Rockets center Yao Ming in another Visa commercial. Nice to see Yao continues to have little trouble adjusting to the life of an American professional athlete.

2. Budweiser, “The Zebra Official.” The kings of the Super Bowl commercial did not let us down. In this ad, a zebra uses instant-replay during a football game between two squads of horses. True to life, the zebra makes a bad call. This was the best of several good Budweiser and Bud Light ads, some tasteful, some not, but all entertaining.

1. Reebok, “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker.” When Reebok lets the Felcher & Sons company sign Tate, he becomes the office enforcer, tackling any worker not doing his job. With every hit that fictitious football player Tate made on a co-worker, the laughter in the room got louder. Bonus: Tate was wearing Buccaneers colors.

We might have to wait over seven months before the NFL season starts up again, but we’ll probably be seeing these ads on TV a lot in the near future, providing just a little reminder that the pageantry of Super Bowl Sunday can last well beyond the final whistle.

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