Best Super Bowl ad and Paul Manafort hearing: 5 things to know Monday

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USA TODAY

Ad Meter winner is ... the NFL

The New England Patriots won the game, but the NFL won the night. The National Football League finished first in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter, a ranking of Super Bowl ads by consumer rating. That’s a first for the NFL, which finished second in last year’s Ad Meter for a Dirty Dancing parody starring Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. Amazon, which won last year’s crown, finished second this time, in both cases for ads featuring Alexa and a bevy of celebrities. The league’s two-minute ode to itself on Sunday’s telecast was a tour de force starring an assemblage of many of the greats of NFL history, including Eli’s brother Peyton. Watch every commercial in the order they aired during the Big Game. 

Manafort's lawyers, Mueller set to battle in court

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A sealed hearing is scheduled Monday for Paul Manafort's lawyers and special counsel Robert Mueller to clash over whether President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman lied repeatedly to the investigators he had promised to assist. Manafort pleaded guilty in September to conspiracy and obstruction of justice after striking an agreement that required him to cooperate with investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller sought to void the plea agreement in November after prosecutors alleged Manafort lied to them about his interactions with various contacts related to the Russia investigation. Monday's hearing will be sealed so prosecutors and defense lawyers can argue about five areas of disagreement in Manafort's statements outlined in heavily redacted filings. 

Supersonic planes debate: Good for travel, bad for the environment

At least three companies are hoping to bring supersonic airplanes back into the skies, but environmental groups worry their return could mean a big increase in greenhouse gasses from aviation. The issue is expected to come to the fore Monday as international regulators meet in Canada to discuss environmental and noise standards for the newly-revived supersonic transport technology. Supersonic jets fly faster than the speed of sound and at higher altitudes. The jets could fly from Paris to New York in three and a half hours, less than half the eight hours a conventional commercial jet would take. Supersonic planes haven’t flown commercially for 16 years. 

17 million Americans will miss work Monday

The Super Bowl is the biggest day of the year for football fans, and the Monday after is a big day for people to miss work. An estimated 17.2 million adults employed in the U.S. will likely not be in the office, the biggest day of Super Bowl-related absenteeism since 2005, the year The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated started tracking these numbers. If you’re calling out, here are some of the best excuses. And a helpful tip: detox with an omelet and soup, not party leftovers.

Hearing to decide Sears' fate 

The fate of Sears Holdings will be decided in a dramatic showdown that begins Monday in a New York federal bankruptcy court. The retailer is seeking approval from bankruptcy judge Robert Drain to sell itself to chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund. Lampert – a controversial figure who is alternately credited with keeping Sears alive or blamed for its demise, depending on your perspective – has offered to keep about 400 stores open and 45,000 workers employed. His hedge fund, ESL Investments, has valued the offer at more than $5 billion. If Drain signs off, Sears lives on. If he rejects the deal, liquidation is virtually certain.  

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Best Super Bowl ad and Paul Manafort hearing: 5 things to know Monday

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