The Super Bowl is without a doubt the most-watched four to eight hours of television every year, depending on how much patience you have for useless celebration penalties and tedious play reviews. But all of those people aren't watching the game. A good cross-section of them are just tuning in for the commercials.
10. The Reebok "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker" Commercial
It's not only one of the funniest ads ever to air on anything anywhere, but it set an incredibly high standard for future Super Bowl spots that few have been able to top. Terry Tate, played by actor/athlete Lester Speight, is hired by a big corporation to keep their office drones from goofing off when they're on the clock. Tate achieves this not through corporate retreats or mission statements, but by pounding the holy living hell out of anyone…and we mean anyone. Corporate executives, stock boys, even high-heeled secretaries aren't safe from Terry's reign of terror. No wonder health insurance premiums have gotten so high.
9. The H&R Block Willie Nelson Commercial
There is nothing more pathetic or painful to watch than some celebrity endorsement deal that eats up $30 million and 30 to 90 seconds of your life. If Famous McSuperstar really believed that this cologne or that toothpaste was so special, they wouldn't be cashing a Nell Carter-sized check from the same company. Leave it to Willie Nelson to save the day. When he appeared in this H&R Block ad, he had just gotten over his IRS troubles and probably still needed the money. His hilarious cameo in this ad started a trend of self-deprecating celebrity ads that would feature the likes of M.C. Hammer and Kevin Federline, although viewers didn't feel as sorry for them as they did for ol' Willie.
8. The Tabasco Sauce Exploding Mosquito Commercial
There isn't anything sexy or even overtly funny about this ad. In fact, it's not even that loud for the entire length of the commercial and that can spell death for an industry that prides itself on getting your attention without having to reach through the screen and turn your head towards the TV with our meaty hands. But its simplicity makes it unique and special. A guy eating Tabasco sauce is bitten by a hungry mosquito and as the little bugger flies away thinking it has gotten some B-positive consequence-free, it explodes in a giant fireball. The ad was so good and convincing that the Centers for Disease Control recommended eating more Tabasco as a way to combat the rising tide of the West Nile virus.
7. The Miller Lite Catfight Commercial
A beer commercial without bawdy, busty babes could cause the Earth to stop spinning on its axis. So Miller, not wanting to be responsible for putting an entire hemisphere in prolonged darkness, upper the ante with two super sexy chicks who do everything we wished they would do in a commercial … and then some, if your imagination came with limits imposed by the FCC.
6. The Pepsi Jimi Hendrix Commercial
If Jimi Hendrix were alive today, we would like to think he wouldn't sell out and endorse a soda or sports drink or laundry detergent ("Tide with color guard takes the haze out of your purples!"). But since he's not around to be tempted by the bigwigs, they decided to do the next best thing. A small little Hendrix-esque boy grabs a Pepsi instead of a Coke and sees an electric guitar in a store window. Thanks to Pepsi placing a vending machine in front of an electric guitar store instead of an accordion shop, Jimi went on to become a rock legend. All thanks to Pepsi. It's a cute, funny idea to think that caffeine and sugar were the only stimulants Jimi injected into his bloodstream to create such an awesome sound.
5. The EDS Cat Herder Commercial
Let's face it, chicks who don't like football don't have much to do during the Super Bowl other than eat their weight in dip and wonder if this is what God had in mind when He rested on the seventh day. Luckily, the ad wizards behind this EDS ad heard their cry for help. They combined the rough, lonely life of a horseback herder and the cuteness of thousands of adorable cats and made a few seconds of film that both genders could equally enjoy. Then 30 seconds later, it's right back to watching busty babes convincing dumb guys that buying a certain salad dressing will get them some. Oh, you men!
4. The E*Trade Dancing Monkey Commercial
It's got a monkey and it dances. If I have to explain it any further than that, then maybe you should actually be paying attention to the game on Super Bowl Sunday.
3. The McDonald's Jordan vs. Bird Commercial
Two titans of sports meet on an empty court for the showdown that every sports fan has played out in their head a million times. The aggressive forward skills of Michael Jordan and the sharp-shooting scoring ability of Larry Bird face off to determine once and for all who will come out on top. The winner gets the undying love and immortal admiration of all mankind long after the Earth has been reduced to dust, a Big Mac, and fries.
2. The Coke Mean Joe Greene Commercial
Just about every soft drink or food ad tries to convince you that their product can give you mutant powers, help you achieve an athletic pinnacle that no man thought could be reached or awaken some spiritual beast that will allow you to defeat the world. This ad from way back in 1979 starring Steelers defensive back Charles "Mean Joe" Greene didn't do any of that. It didn't even give you frigging wings. Instead, a kid who somehow managed to sneak into the locker room of an NFL stadium with very relaxed security tries to get his hero's spirits up and let him know that he's got a fan out there. And to prove it, he gives him his Coke. Greene rewards the kid with an authentic Steelers jersey that the kid will always treasure until the world invents eBay.
1. The Apple Computer 1984 Commercial
This ad will be on just about every Top 10 advertising list and greatest ad list until the end of time. The ironic thing is that where other ads have to beat you over the head with their message until your brain cries uncle, this ad for the Apple Macintosh was only shown as an ad on television ONCE during Super Bowl XVIII. Either Steve Jobs is a mad genius or he is really Big Brother, which makes him an even bigger yet more evil (and not as likable) genius.