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Super Bowl ads 2018: Grading the best and worst of the game's commercials

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. For the sixth straight year, Yahoo Sports’ Jay Busbee (@jaybusbee) and Kevin Kaduk (@kevinkaduk) are 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
Toyota, “Paralympics”
Lauren Woolstencroft‬ became the No. 1 trending topic on search engines right after this one aired, and with good reason: Any ad that reminds you to think about how lucky you are, and pushes you to get up off the couch, is a good one.

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NFL, “Time Of My Life”
This was a game-long buildup, and it was worth the wait: Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. doing an entire performance of “Dirty Dancing,” complete with the final leap-and-spread-the-arms move. Just let them dance, indeed.

Solo: Preview Trailer
At long last, we get our first look at the upcoming “Star Wars” film “Solo,” the origin story of everyone’s favorite spacefaring rogue. We get looks at Chewbacca, the Millennium Falcon, Lando Calrissian, and so much more. Exhale, Star Wars fans.

Doritos/Mountain Dew: “Blaze vs. Ice”
Peter Dinklage, Busta Rhymes, Morgan Freeman and Missy Elliott might be an unlikely quartet, but they worked together in this commercial as well as Doritos and Mountain Dew.

The Voice, “One Voice”
What does it say about modern country music that a goofball in-joke like this one sounds like it would fit right in alongside today’s Big Country Hits?

Verizon, “First Responders”
Powerful stuff here, thanking first responders for leaping into danger where others fear to tread. (Note: Yahoo Sports is part of Oath, which is owned by Verizon.)

Tide, “Super Bowl Ad”
Sheriff Jim Hopper from “Stranger Things” shows up with a meta-ad, a Super Bowl ad about being a Super Bowl ad. If a Tide ad looks like every other ad, is every other ad therefore a Tide ad? The mind boggles.

Lexus, “Black Panther”
Casting “Black Panther’s T’Challa, with a soundtrack by Run The Jewels? Why, Lexus. It’s almost enough to make us forgive you for those awful “December to Remember” ads that show up starting at Halloween. Almost.

Coca-Cola: “The Wonder of Us”
Colorful, sweet and about as political as a Super Bowl ad can get, this ad was “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” for the year 2018. Don Draper would approve. 

Avengers, “Infinity War” trailer
Yeah, we’re totally in the bag for this movie. So what? After this trailer, so are you.

Kia, “Dream On”
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler goes back into the past, via a Kia in reverse, to rediscover his younger, more handsome self. Love ya, Steve, but it’ll take a few more laps to make you look that good.

Michelob Ultra, “The Perfect Fit”
He resurrected the “Jurassic” franchise, made “Guardians” a hit for Marvel and has now made an ad for Michelob Ultra one of the best of the Super Bowl. Is there anything Chris Pratt can’t do?

GRADE: B
Dodge, “Vikings Will Rock You”
High marks to Dodge for using the alternate rocking cut of “We Will Rock You.” If these vikings had shown up to play Philly in the NFC championship, we’d have a different Super Bowl matchup.

Budweiser, “Stand By Me”
Bud’s good works in the face of natural disasters should be enough to keep you from making a joke about their beer being water.

Avocados From Mexico, “BioDome”
This is Avocados fourth straight Super Bowl, but unlike the ‘90s Bills, they’ve yet to post n ‘L.’ This year’s premise: Biodomers get upset once they learn their new utopia doesn’t have any chips for all the guacamole they plan on making. And while their leader is *technically* right — avocados do play nice with many other foods — a world without chips, guac and reliable wi-fi is one we don’t wish to know.

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Pepsi, “This Is The Pepsi”
Not the world’s greatest ad, but the Ray Charles and Cindy Crawford citations are a reminder that Pepsi can make a great Super Bowl commercial when they’re up to it.

Sprint: “Artificial Intelligence”
Man. It’s bad enough when Siri can’t understand you or Alexa refuses to listen. Now this poor guy has artificial intelligence actively laughing at him for not choosing Sprint? That’s harsh.

Rocket Mortgage, “Simplify”
Keegan-Michael Key does a variant of his classic old Obama anger translator, in this case translating the gobbledygook that permeates our daily lives into easy-to-understand language.

Australia, “Tour Australia”
Nice job with the misdirect here, thinking that this is another trailer for “Dundee” and then it turns out to be a tourism video. Wait … is there a “Dundee” movie at all now? Or is that just another Tide ad?

Febreze, “The Man Whose Bleep Don’t Stink”
There was a time when television couldn’t show Elvis’s gyrating hips or a married couple talking in bed together, and now we’re one syllable away from openly discussing defecation. Ah, progress! Anyway, this is a clever spot that goes on far too long; it really works best if you think of it as a trailer for a very weird upcoming Marvel movie.  

The Cloverfield Paradox trailer
Netflix buys up the sequel to a major movie, then buys a Super Bowl ad to promote it. Netflix ain’t playing around.

Toyota, “All One Team”
Man, if only humanity could get along in the real world the way we all do in car commercials.

GRADE: C
Bud Light: “The Bud Knight”
This was probably the only logical conclusion to an entire season of watching the medieval “Dilly Dilly” campaign, but we’ll be glad when Bud Light moves on to another genre.

M&M’s: “Human”
Try and eat your next bag of M&M’s without picturing Danny DeVito saying “Eat Me.”

Skyscraper Trailer
Seriously. The Rock is going to be in every movie ever made from here on out, isn’t he? This one looks like just the thing to cure that persistent fear of heights you’ve got.

Turkish Air Lines: “Widen Your World”
Yes, the human spirit is a magnificent and bounteous thing, and human senses can perceive far more than lurks in your phone. A noble sentiment, a fairly routine execution.

Stella Artois, “Chalice”
“Attaching your brand to a good cause” is the new “having somebody take a football to the nethers” of Super Bowl ads. Which is an improvement, we guess.

Amazon, “Alexa Loses Her Voice”
This is the classic cameo-laden Super Bowl ad, with party-pleasing “Hey! I know that guy!” appearances designed to appeal to the broadest possible audience, from Anthony Hopkins to Cardi B. It’s cute and all, but it still doesn’t answer the fundamental question of why anyone would really need Alexa in the first place.

Amazon Prime, Jack Ryan
We’d rather see Dwight Schrute at Jack Ryan, but it’ll be interesting to see how John Krasinksi tries to pull it off.

Diet Coke, “Mango”
If you’re on board with the twitchy gyrations of the leggy model, you love this ad. If it doesn’t click for you, you hate it as pretentious and twee. Ergo, we split the difference here.

Jeep Grand Cherokee: “Off Road”
Like the Turkish Air Lines ad, this is a case of a grand idea to escape the everyday that, ironically enough, stays well within the lines.

Mission Impossible: Fallout Trailer
Tom Cruise movies look insanely cool, but Tom Cruise seems to get hurt an awful lot in them. Dude’s insurance deductible must be ridiculous.

WeatherTech, “American Factory”
A simple ad about building a factory right here in America, and somehow even that simple sentiment’s going to be read as a political statement. (Please do not read this grade as any form of approval or disapproval of this ad’s message. Shame we need to say that these days, but you know why we do.)

Jeep, “Jurassic Chase”
Lots of dinosaurs in these commercials tonight. Funny how state-of-the-art terror from the early 1990s looks like c

Pringles, “Wow”
As many an Internet wiseguy has pointed out, this commercial would’ve been an ‘A’ with Owen Wilson doing the ‘wow’ instead of Bill Hader. (Sorry, Bill.)

Hyundai, “Hope Detector”
OK, we feel a bit weird about critiquing an ad that involves sick kids, but we’re not going to let Hyndai’s attempt at bulletproofing itself from criticism slide. This was just strange: kidnapping people going through security to force-feed them heartbreaking stories? Interesting promotional technique.

TurboTax, “Monster Under The Bed”
Well. That one will give you nightmares for a month. Or until April 15, whichever.

E-Trade, “85 And I Want To Go Home”

Ha ha, old folks rappin’ and lifeguardin’! So funny to make a joke at their expense! Especially considering [remainder of this entry deleted because nobody wants to talk politics on Super Bowl Sunday]

GRADE: D
Wendy’s, “Iceberg”

Yes, Wendy’s Twitter voice is clever and irreverent, and yes, frozen burgers are not good. But you gotta come stronger than this in the Super Bowl, Wendy’s. Just sayin’.

Universal Studios, “Peyton”
Cute, seeing ol’ Peyton as overmatched dad at a Universal Studios theme park, but all this does is remind us of that great old Saturday Night Live mock-ad where Peyton barked at a bunch of kids. This ad was much more family-friendly.

Yellow Tail, “Kangaroo Party”
It’s a party with a kangaroo at it. Admit it, that’d freak you the hell out, no matter how good the wine might be.

Groupon, “Support Local Business”
This was like a Super Bowl commercial from the 1980s, all goofy violence and contrived premise. Although in the 1980s, people would have thought “Groupon” was a comic book villain.

T-Mobile “Change Starts Now”
Equality for all, above all is, of course, an ideal state of being. And babies are cute. And Nirvana’s “All Apologies” is, well, an interesting choice for a lullaby. But, uh … what does it all have to do with a phone company?

Skechers, “First Class”
Sure, we get it, not every ad has to be pitched at maximum volume, with the budget of a major motion picture. Sometimes you’ve just got ol’ Howie Long in some comfortable shoes. Which is enough to get your message across, but not enough to register a decent ad grade.

Castle Rock Trailer
We’re big ol’ Stephen King fans around here, and we’re sure this series is going to be very good, but aside from the “Shawshank” reference, there’s not much to hold onto in this particular ad. We’ve seen creepy kids and terror-stricken faces all too many times before, folks.

Persil, “Premium Clean”
The classic TV-talks-back-to-you trope, but the “what was in those brownies?” line was a nice subversive touch.

GRADE: F
Heroes’ Arena, “Battle Royal”
We’re sure Heroes’ Arena is a wonderful app with plenty of people who enjoy it, but this ad didn’t give anyone new a reason to try it.

Keanu Reeves, SquareSpace
We’re sure that there’s an awesome reason why John Wick/Ted “Theodore” Logan/Neo is standing on a motorcycle cruising across the desert, but we’re not going to a website to find out more. That’s what the ad is for, folks.

Dodge, “Heart Full Of Grace”
Come on, Dodge. Using MLK to sell trucks? Does even the highest-minded appeal to the better angels of our nature have to be chopped into a 30-second bite for commercial consumption? (Don’t answer that. We know.)

Morgan Freeman, cool as ice for Mountain Dew. (via screenshot)

More Super Bowl coverage from Yahoo Sports:
Follow Super Bowl LII live: Eagles vs. Patriots
Super Bowl LII: Our experts make their picks
Brady shares beaming family pic ahead of Super Bowl
Are the Patriots the greatest dynasty in sports history?
Trump’s Super Bowl message: ‘We proudly stand’ for national anthem

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.