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2014 Super Bowl Commercials – Ranking the Best of Super Bowl XLVIII

Jay Busbee
Shutdown Corner

They run ads during the Super Bowl. We rank those ads right here, and we'll be updating it throughout the game. Let's get to it, shall we? And you can visit the Yahoo Screen Super Bowl ad channel to see all the ads in one place.

Grade: A

Budweiser: Puppy Love. A sequel of sorts to last year's famous Clydesdales/"Landslide" slot, this is heart-tugging and sweet and precious and OH MAN DID YOU SEE THAT SAD PUPPY IN THE WINDOW? Not sure what it has to do with beer, but then that's not really the point, is it?

Bank of America: U2 Red. You can go to iTunes and get a free new U2 song, which sounds an awful lot like old U2 songs, but is still pretty good. 

Hyundai: Dad's Sixth Sense. If you're a parent, you know that half of your life is saving your children from some debilitating injury, and the other half is worrying about them suffering such an injury. This ad nailed it.

Chevy: Life. Oh man. Another sunrise. A cancer survivor. Her husband. STOP MAKING US CRY DURING SUPER BOWLS. (Seriously, a perfect, understated spot.)

T-Mobile: No Contract. Outstanding ad, legitimately funny, with Tim Tebow showing what's possible without a contract. The first of 745 times you're going to see it.

Jaguar: Rendezvous. Tom Hiddleston, Mark Singer and Sir Ben Kingsley appear as bad guys driving or endorsing Jaguars in the best movie never made.

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Grade: B

Need for Speed: preview. Not much to this one, but it gets a B just because it brings "Breaking Bad"'s Jesse Pinkman back into our consciousness.

Beats: Dancing Ellen. Cute commercial with Ellen Degeneres as a Goldilocks/Red Riding Hood hybrid who tries various music styles before settling on some pop music with dancing wolves and bears. Solid commercial, though we shudder to think what happened after the cameras stopped rolling.

Radio Shack: The Phone Call. Great ad that misses out on an A only because we don't get to hear more from Hulk Hogan, Alf, Mary Lou Retton, Dee Snider and the rest of the '80s icons in this ad. Also, the "we know we sucked but we're doing better!" strategy is always a curious one.

SquareSpace: A Better Web Awaits. If you spend time on the Internet (like, oh, right now), you've dealt with the various oversharing Facebookers/duckfacers/mortgage hawks mentioned in this SquareSpace ad. In other words: the Internet is awful, but you might be able to make a small chunk of it better. Good luck!

Cheerios: Gracie. Cute enough on its own, as a little girl negotiates with her father for a puppy. Did you notice that the parents were of two different races? Did you care? Your kids probably didn't.

Audi: Doberhuahua. Combine a Doberman with a Chihuahua, and what do you have? Gratuitous, joyous violence throughout.

Honda: Hugfest. John McClane himself, Bruce Willis, tells you to hug your loved ones. That was nice.

Microsoft: Empowering. Steve Gleason, former NFL player stricken with ALS, "narrates" the many ways in which technology benefits those suffering from ailments. Nice work.

Coca-Cola: Going All The Way. Simple enough: kid runs through town, finishes up in stadium, gets a Coke. Hope he doesn't need to go to bed anytime soon, though.

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Grade: C

Maserati: Strike. So, uh ... blockbuster movie trailer? Anti-bullying ad? American gung-ho rah-rah propaganda? Nope ... car ad. It was pretty enough, but talk about your mixed messages."Now we strike" sounds fairly ominous.

Bud Light: Epic Night. Dude gets taken on a blind date by actors, meets Don Cheadle, Arnold Schwarzenegger and a llama. This falls squarely into the "trying WAY too hard" category that bedevils most Super Bowl ads.

GoDaddy: Puppet Master. Good premise, someone quitting their job to create a website, via GoDaddy, and create their own fortune. Would be better seeing the boss's face ... or the entrepreneur's, one year from now.

Wonderful Pistachios: Stephen Colbert. Colbert's smarm doesn't translate well to the commercial format. Cracking open his skull to see another pistachio skull is an image we won't soon forget.

Budweiser: A Hero's Welcome. One of many, many, MANY ads to use the American flag and patriotism and the military as the centerpiece. Criticize that and you're criticizing America! Love it or leave it!

Dannon Oikos: Spill. John Stamos comes within a whisker of getting really dirty, getting his date to lick up a splash of yogurt that fell ... downward, before his old "Full House" mates come along to ruin the day.

GoDaddy: Bodybuilder. We don't blame you if you missed this one, since it came late in a blowout. Danica Patrick kept her record of appearing in Super Bowl commercials alive, this time in a bodysuit with monstrous pecs as she raced bodybuilders for a spray tan. (She did not win the race.)

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Grade: D

Chevy Silverado: Romance. Hmm. Bull romance as a selling point. Interesting approach, Chevy.

TurboTax: Love Hurts. Clever idea completely spoiled by the fact that it's an ad about paying taxes. Yes, that's an unfair judgment on our part. But we stand by it.

Doritos: Time Machine. So much more could've been done with this one. The "get off my lawn" premise? Like the Broncos, this is a shaky start.

Transformers: Age of Extinction preview. It's Transformers. It's dubstep. It's Marky Mark. You already know if you're going to see this one or not.

Coca-Cola: America The Beautiful. Pretty much a one-note premise here. When all else fails, wrap yourself in the flag, we guess.

Volkswagen: Wings. "When a Volkswagen hits 100,000 miles, a German engineer gets his wings." This one never made it past first-draft stage, did it?

Axe: Make Love, Not War. Body spray keeps everybody's mind on lovin', not fightin'. Bro-tastic! Though it just might work.

Chobani: Bear. Another one-note ad idea, as a bear trashes a convenience store in search of Chobani yogurt. Come on, bear. A little more grace, please?

Chrysler: America's Import. Yet another "America RULES!" ad, which is nice and all but pretty unimaginative. Even more surprising: Bob Dylan, who used to rail against this kind of corporatespeak with all his soul, provided both voice and face to the ad.

Heinz: Hum. Everyone hums along as they tap on ketchup bottles. Any ad that ends with Granny farting (or seeming to, anyway) probably needed one more rewrite.

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Grade: F

Bud Light: Cool Twist. That is a lot of money to spend on promoting a reclosable bottle. Who recloses a bottle of beer?

CarMax: Slow Clap. It's not a good thing when your central gimmick is already a dead-and-buried cliche.

Kia: The Truth. Morpheus returns from the Matrix to give us all a taste of luxury, then sings opera. At least it didn't ruin "The Matrix" ... "The Matrix 2" and "The Matrix 3" did that just fine.

SodaStream: Sorry Coke and Pepsi. They tried hard to go viral using Scarlett Johansson. Next time don't beg for our affections.

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Other Yahoo Sports Super Bowl commercial stories:

The Will Ferrell Super Bowl commercial you didn't see

The NFL declines to run a pro-gun ad during the Super Bowl

Danica Patrick's Super Bowl ad ranks dead last

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Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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