Super Bowl ads 2019: Grading the best and worst of the game's commercials

Yahoo Sports

Super Bowl Sunday! It’s here at last, the national holiday when we have to sit through football in order to watch those beloved ads. Yahoo Sports’ Liz Roscher (@lizroscher) is here to walk you through the ridiculous, the sublime, the cheesy, and the annoying of this year’s ads, updated live as they air. As always, we rate ads on a completely unscientific and utterly biased basis; feel free to offer contrasting opinions in the comments below. Let’s make with the grading!

Grade: A

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Hyundai, “The Elevator”
I could have watched another two minutes of elevator operator Jason Bateman dropping people off to experience painful, uncomfortable, and generally unpleasant moments. Bateman found the perfect level of Bateman-ness for this commercial, too. Snarky, but not in an attention-getting way.

Doritos, “Now It’s Hot”
There has never been a collaboration less necessary than Chance The Rapper and the Backstreet Boys, and yet the commercial was entertaining and nostalgic. They might want to get that car spewing bright yellow exhaust checked out, though. It’s probably not supposed to do that.

Trailer, “Captain Marvel”
Is there any way CBS could air that “Captain Marvel” trailer at every commercial break? Because it’s phenomenal.

Trailer, “Hobbs & Shaw”
Idris Elba. The Rock. Jason Statham. The song “Why Can’t We Be Friends.” Some may say the world doesn’t need another sequel to “The Fast and the Furious,” but they are all wrong.

Expensify, “Expensify This”
It’s hard to make an expense management tool sexy. Or funny. Or even remotely interesting. But in their first ever TV ad, they managed to hit two of those three. (It doesn’t matter what they do, an expense management tool will never be sexy.) Chalk it up to the inescapable magnetism of 2 Chainz and… Adam Scott? OK, sure.

Toyota, “Toni”
Toyota shunned celebrities this year and featured the story of Toni, who is trying to become the first female player in the NFL. Maybe one day we’ll get the chance to root for her in the big game.

NFL, “NFL 100 Celebration”
When you get all of the NFL’s best and most legendary players in one room, the dream is for a football game to break out. This is a phrase that isn’t said very much, but it has to be said: the NFL got this one exactly right. Tom Brady even managed to act like a human instead of a handsome football robot! Truly an accomplishment.

Devour, “Food Porn”
The full version of this ad, which actually contained the word “porn,” was banned from the Super Bowl, which is a shame because it’s really funny. The less outrageous version still makes its point, though. Who knew anyone had such strong feelings about frozen food?

Bud Light, “Game of Thrones”
Well this didn’t end the way anyone thought it would. Someone does say “Dilly, Dilly” in this ad, but the “Game of Thrones” dragon flies in and lays the entire jousting scene to waste. It’s pretty satisfying.

Skechers, “Romo Mode”
It’s pretty apparent that 2019 is The Year of Romo. None of the jokes in this commercial are all that clever, but Tony Romo is just so charming that he makes it work. And the visual of him celebrating on the golf course next to an enormous crater of a hole is pretty delightful.

Microsoft, “We All Win”
Does anyone have a box of tissues? Because this commercial pulls at the heartstrings in all the right ways. It’s sweet and understated, and doesn’t try to make you think video games are the most important thing in the world. But to a disabled kid who just wants to be just like their friends, video games are one of the most important things in the world. 

Burger King, “Eat Like Andy”
Andy Warhol Burger King commercial? Automatic A. No question.

Amazon Alexa, “Not Everything Makes the Cut”
It’s pretty rich for Amazon to mock unnecessary smart devices, but this ad is witty and clever without being too broad. From Forest Whitaker putting his toothbrush speaker into his mouth to the Broad City ladies getting blasted out of their hot tub by an overactive water feature, it’s all gold. And the world needs a movie starring Harrison Ford and his smart-alec dog who communicates through Alexa. Get on it, Amazon.

Grade: B

M&M, “Bad Passengers”
Were you relieved that the M&Ms were trapped in a chocolate bar and weren’t actually Christina Applegate’s children somehow? That’s a whole can of worms no one wants opened.

Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 3 Trailer
The third season of Hulu’s series based on the 1985 novel looks just as dystopian as the first two. The trailer gives you that sense of existential dread that you want in a series about a terrifying authoritarian government. 

WeatherTech, “Scout”
WeatherTech has introduced a line of safe and durable food bowls for your pet, which is great because it means we got to see a commercial with adorable dogs! Wouldn’t your workplace be better if a dog like Scout was wandering around doing what good doggos do?

Trailer, “Avengers: Endgame”
“Some people move on. But not us.” That sounds ominous. Captain America gives a pained look. Iron Man is welding something. There’s fog over New York City. C’mon, “Avengers,” give us more!

T-Mobile, “Unlimited”
We all have that friend who texts you a novel when you were just looking for a sentence or two. If you don’t have that friend, bad news: that friend is you. T-Mobile also aired a few additional spots featuring everyone’s worst texting habits, like typing 500 different responses before finally sending one, or responding too quickly.

Pringles, “Sad Device”
Be honest: you don’t want to know the deep inner thoughts of your virtual assistant, either. 

Google, “100 Billion Words”
The search engine and tech empire knows how to bring the feels. It’s not hard to figure out what the three most translated phrases are, but Google knows the right way to tell you.

Avocados From Mexico, “Top Dog”
There may be a time when an ad about humans who look like their dogs isn’t funny, but that time isn’t now. (Thank goodness.) Plus: more adorable dogs! Good dogs always get good grades.

Toyota, “It’s Back”
Backed by the original version of “Pinball Wizard” and featuring a car zinging around just like a pinball, this commercial for the new Supra is pretty boss.

Bubly, “Bublé vs. Bubly”
Michael Bublé takes this commercial from merely OK to adorable. You know he’s had trouble all his life with people pronouncing and spelling his name, and he’s a celebrity! The look he gives the store owner when he’s down on the floor, correcting all the Bubly cans? It’s just too much and yet we need so much more.

Verizon, “The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here”
Verizon’s commercial pays tribute to first responders (as it did last year), but with a twist: it features current and former football players who have been saved, and the first responders who saved them. Pass the tissues, please. (Note: Yahoo Sports is part of Verizon Media Group, which is owned by Verizon.)

Google, “Jobs For Veterans” 
You might not know about those codes if you hadn’t served in the military, but Google knows. What doesn’t Google know? Let’s not think about that too hard.

Bud Light, “Medieval Haircut” 
It’s confusing to like these commercials, but Bud Light didn’t deliver a dud all night. Now you no longer need to wonder how dudes got those absolutely fetching bowl cuts in all those old Medieval paintings.

Netflix, “Our Planet” 
There is always, always room in the world for a show that features wild animals in their natural habitats. A mommy and baby leopard? Yes, please.

Budweiser, “Wind Never Felt Better”
It’s a commercial touting wind powered brewing that features the iconic clydesdales and an iconic Bob Dylan song, but the star is that adorable wind-blown Dalmatian. Good dogs always get good grades.

CBS, “Girl Power”
“Girl power” is an overused and semi-meaningless phrase these days, but it’s nice to be reminded that girls don’t just like football and watch football, they want to play football, too.

Grade: C

Spiked Seltzer, “The Pitch”
Mermaids Bon and Viv trying to sell their alcoholic seltzer idea to a panel of sharks is a mostly cute “Shark Tank” joke, but that it doesn’t end with the two of them becoming a shark snack is a major disappointment.

Turkish Airlines, “The Journey”
The woman in this ad seems annoyed that she’s been abandoned on her vacation, but you know she’s probably having a better time on her own.

Bud Light, “Corn Syrup”
No one said “Dilly, Dilly!” in this ad, and that’s a win for all of us individually as well as society in general.

Mercedes Benz, “Say the Word”
A car that changes color on command is pretty rad, but does it also come with the godlike power to make the things you say actually happen in real life? Asking for a friend. But also: Lassie! More dogs, please. 

Norwegian Cruise Line, “Good To Be Free”
The recent polar vortex makes this commercial look really, really appealing. Who doesn’t want to trade in their enormous winter coats and boots for almost literally anything else?

Sprint, “Bo Knows…”
It’s always nice to see the legendary Bo Jackson. Especially when he’s holding a keytar-playing mermaid next to a flying mini-horse and being screeched at by a tiny robot with bad vocal fry.

ADT, “Property Brothers”
Is there anywhere one can find refuge from the Property Brothers? Just kidding, the answer is no. They’re behind you right now, rearranging your house.

Michelob Ultra, “Robots”
Robots can’t enjoy beer, but if their only choice is Michelob Ultra, they’re not missing much.

Colgate, “Close Talker”
Colgate can fix Luke Wilson’s breath, but it can’t fix the endless HR complaints that will be filed against him for constantly invading his coworkers’ personal space.

Amazon Prime Video, “Hanna” trailer
Amazon’s TV series based on the 2011 film looks like it features a lot of the titular Hanna kicking butt and taking names. But it mostly looks like she’s fighting her dad? Well, Hanna said in the trailer that she wasn’t normal.

Bud Light, “Trojan Horse” 
The image of a noisy Trojan Horse slowly backing away from Troy because two beer-obsessed soldiers wouldn’t shut up is pretty funny, to be honest.

Michelob Ultra, “The Pure Experience”
Zoe Kravitz is trying to sell us organic beer by making our spine tingle. There are worse ways to spend 30 seconds, though this commercial is better as part of your pre-bedtime ritual than in the Super Bowl.

Washington Post, “Democracy Dies In Darkness” 
Tom Hanks lends his voice to a noble cause (that journalists and journalism are important), but the ad aired in the final minutes of one of the least exciting Super Bowls in recent memory. The Washington Post couldn’t have known that, but actually seeing the most trusted man in Hollywood would have gone a long way toward making this ad more memorable.

Grade: D

Bumble, “The Ball Is In Her Court”
It’s confusing and a little weird that there’s a younger version of Serena Williams in this ad about a dating app, because she’s definitely too young to use it.

Olay, “Killer Skin”
Putting Sarah Michelle Gellar, one of the queens of late 1990s teen horror, in a horror-themed commercial seems like such a promising concept, but this ad is a big letdown. Come on, Olay. The ageless Sarah Michelle did not ever look like that.

Pepsi, “More Than OK”
If you’re wondering what connection there is between Steve Carell, Cardi B, and Lil Jon, the answer is that they all agreed to be in this Pepsi commercial. A commercial that encourages everyone to think of Pepsi as “more than OK.” Not terribly inspiring.

Audi, “Cashew”
Audi’s new electric car only exists in the mind of people who don’t chew their food well enough.

Persil ProClean, “Stain Secrets”
An underwater elevator is cool. This commercial? Not so much.

Kia, “The Great Unknowns” 
It feels a little wrong that an ad about how great regular people are ends up being for a car named the Telluride, which is also a ski resort town in Colorado.

Yellow Tail, “Tastes Like Happy”
This wine tastes like happy, but it also tastes like what you drink after you get fired or dumped or stranded with your in-laws for an extra three days due to inclement weather. So your mileage may vary.

Grade: F

SimpiSafe: “Simply Feel Safe”
The world is terrifying enough. But in case you’re not thinking about that right this second, please thank SimpliSafe for reminding you that everything is terrible.

Planters, “Crunch Time”
This is a weird one with a lot of wasted potential. Mr. Peanut just drives the Peanutmobile. Charlie Sheen makes fun of himself, which would feel more at home in a commercial from five years ago. And Alex Rodriguez says no words and is saved from eating a kale chip. It’s not hard to imagine a version of this commercial that works, but this really isn’t it.

Mint Mobile, “Chunky Style Milk”
Why, Mint Mobile? Why did you make this utterly nauseating commercial? There is almost nothing worse in the morning than pouring milk into your cereal or coffee and having chunks come out. That’s a day-ruiner. And now we can all associate that with your mobile company. Anyone have a bucket handy?

TurboTax, “RoboChild”
Can we go back to a time when RoboChild didn’t exist? Because that thing is FRIGHTENING. Why did the world need this? WHY?

Stella Artois, “Change Up The Usual”
What’s missing from this commercial is an apology to everyone who thought they were getting a sequel to “The Big Lebowski.”

Wix, “Karlie Kloss”
Did this commercial need to exist? No. No it didn’t.

There were good commercials for the 2019 Super Bowl, and there were bad commercials. Where did your favorites rank? (Screenshot)
There were good commercials for the 2019 Super Bowl, and there were bad commercials. Where did your favorites rank? (Screenshot)

More Super Bowl coverage from Yahoo Sports:
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