[Note: Every Friday on First Thoughts we host heated, half-serious, half-cocked arguments about some aspect of pop culture. Today’s theme, in honor of Sunday’s game, is Super Bowl commercials. Have a suggestion for a topic? Send them to me at jcarter@firstthings.com ]

Contrary to the trite assertion made every year by people who don’t know how to appreciate football, it is not really true that the commercials the best thing about the Super Bowl (at least not always). Sure, it seems that way because the television viewer is seeing commercials than actual game play (in an average game, the ratio of commercials to playing time is seven to one ). The reality, however, is that most of the commercials aren’t all that memorable. Only a few stand out every year and they are almost always beer commercials.

But maybe (like me) you don’t like beer, or are a Southern Baptist (like me) and aren’t supposed to condone beer commercials, or maybe your just tired of the anthropomorphizing of Clydesdale horses (again, me). Then it becomes much harder to choose the best Super Bowl commercials of all time. Harder, but not impossible, for I’ve found the five best Super Bowl commercials that were hawking something other than beer.

5. Monster.com, “When I Grow Up”

4. Apple, 1984

3. E*Trade, “Wasted Two Million Bucks”

2. Reebok “Terry Tate — Office Linebacker”

1. EDS, “Cat Herders”

I’m not sure how anyone could disagree with these five superb selections, but just in case I’ll ask: Know of a non-beer commercial that is better than one of these five?

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