By Josh Axelrod
That was one hell of a show. Every aspect of Super Bowl XLIX lived up to the hype, which is more than can be said for the walloping the Seahawks put on the Broncos last year. This year, the Hawks were beaten by Tom Brady’s Patriots in possibly the most heartbreaking football moment since the Titans came up one yard short in Super Bowl XXXIV.
More importantly, everything surrounding the Super Bowl was just as much fun as the game itself. The Puppy Bowl was extra adorable this year, Katy Perry introduced the world to her dancing sharks, and there were enough good commercials to make you nervous about going to the bathroom during a break. Here are my top 10 from Super Bowl XLIX:
1.) Nationwide, Invisible Mindy Kaling
So it’s not enough for Mindy Kaling to conquer TV sitcoms now, apparently. Now she has to make the best commercial of the Super Bowl just to make sure everyone knows she rules the world. The look on Matt Damon’s face when she touched him was priceless. It was also the second most Boston commercial of the evening, right behind the “Ted 2” trailer. Mindy, well done as usual.
2.) T-Mobile, One-Upped
I usually find Chelsea Handler and Sarah Silverman’s humor to be a bit hit-or-miss, but this was a big hit for both of them. These are two snarky ladies, and that quality was put to good use as they bragged about the places they could get cell phone service in their lavish houses. When Handler said, “Well I’m under my house…with a rabbit” while staring at a possum, I lost it.
3.) Always, Like a Girl
This and the domestic violence PSA were probably the two most important commercials to air during the Super Bowl. While it was expected that the NFL would go all in on promoting domestic violence awareness, this one came out of nowhere and spread a sweet message about what it really means to throw around the phrase “like a girl.” Hopefully every young woman watching the Super Bowl took that message to heart.
4.) Pitch Perfect 2 Riff-Off
It’s kind of cheating to include a movie trailer here, but guys, we’re only a few months from “Pitch Perfect 2”!!!!! I’m slightly obsessed with the first one, and the Super Bowl was the perfect time to show off the Green Bay Packers’ singing chops with a quick excerpt from the sequel’s riff-off. It was aca-awesome. As Fat Amy would say, “Crushed it.”
5.) Bud Light, Real Life PacMan
Why isn’t Real Life PacMan a thing outside of beer commercials? People would pay unreasonable amounts of money to play this game. Come on Bud Light, you’re sitting on a gold mine. Turn this dream into a reality.
6.) Esurance, Say My Name
As someone who just finished binging “Breaking Bad,” it was nice to see Walter White back on screen so soon. If I were that woman, I would’ve ran away screaming at the sight of a man wearing a gas mask and those yellow “work clothes.” Here’s to hoping Brian Cranston’s next project lives up to the bar set by this commercial. As in, he can do better than “Godzilla.”
7.) Clash of Clans, Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson has completely transformed his persona in the last couple of years. Imagine him making this commercial after “Love, Actually.” Now that he’s done three “Taken” movies, it’s easier to picture him as someone you don’t want to mess with, even in a silly mobile game. A silly mobile game that has one of the best marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen. I can’t go a day on the D.C. Metro without seeing a “Clash of Clans” ad in a train. Don Draper must be working behind the scenes.
8.) Snickers, The Brady Bunch
These “you’re not yourself when you’re hungry” Snickers ads have yet to get old. This one featured Danny Trejo and Steve Buscemi as Marsha and Jan Brady, respectively, and as usual, it worked to perfection. Keep it up Snickers. You’re on an unprecedented hot streak of running the same commercial over and over again with the same awesome results.
9.) Geico, What’s Cooking With Ickey
Ickey Woods is officially more relevant as a commercial staple than he was as an NFL fullback. This man has probably made more money off saying the word “cold cuts” than anyone in human history. And so far, it’s working out for him. I can see him getting old eventually, but for now Ickey, do your shuffle with pride.
10.) NASCAR, America Start Your Engines
No Super Bowl taking place on NBC during the last season of “Parks and Recreation” would be complete without Nick Offerman and his mustache promoting something manly. His involvement with NASCAR is genius because I totally believe that, knowing Offerman’s TV and real-life personas, he would watch NASCAR while sipping whiskey and snacking on bacon-wrapped shrimp. I still won’t acknowledge NASCAR’s existence beyond this commercial, but it was a notable effort from the American institution that is Ron Swanson.