For the millions of people who tuned in for Super Bowl XL, the game took a back seat to what many consider the main show, the always hyped and anticipated new slew of commercials. With the Super Bowl being the most watched television event of the year, it’s no surprise that companies are willing to fork over $2.5 million for only 30 seconds of airtime.

Name awareness and image is the ambition for all companies airing commercials on Super Bowl Sunday. Ads featuring celebrities are always popular and this year marked Sean Combs’ return to the Super Bowl as the face of Diet Pepsi. In an ad which included comedian Jay Mohr as the Diet Pepsi can’s agent, Combs signed the can as the icon of his hit song, “Brown and Bubbly.” This ad was by far one of the worst I have ever seen. Diet Pepsi took a prominent music figure in P. Diddy and made him look ridiculous.

Almost all of the advertisers opted for humor, although USA Today’s top two picks included one with a sentimental theme. Super Bowl mainstay Bud Light was USA Today’s top pick of a rotating beer fridge that appeared in a neighboring apartment of unsuspecting guys who pray for its return. Second place, however, went to the rare sentimental commercial by Budweiser. A Clydesdale colt encountering great difficulty in pulling a cart is covertly helped by two older horses.

The funniest commercials of the evening included ones from Ameriquest mortgage, FedEx and Budweiser. Ameriquest’s featured a hospitalized man being examined by two doctors when an annoying fly starts buzzing around. One doctor zaps the fly with a defibrillator just as the patient’s wife and daughter walk into the room, and remarks “that killed him.”

The FedEx commercial flashes back to the prehistoric era. After trying to send a package via a flying dinosaur that was intercepted by a hungry T-Rex, a caveman reports back to his boss that it didn’t make it. The boss fires the guy and tells him that he should have used FedEx. The caveman leaves in anger, before getting crushed by a brontosaurus.

Finally, a second Budweiser commercial featured a group of horses playing football when a young, naked sheep runs onto the field and disrupts the game. Remarks an on-looking farmer, “Streaker.”

The 2006 Super Bowl ads this year earned an A-. Most were entertaining – Jessica Simpson’s Pizza Hut commercials notwithstanding. And for the first time the Super Bowl ads are available online at You be the judge.

Oh, by the way, the Pittsburgh Steelers won – in case you hadn’t heard.

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