Super Bowl entertainment report

Feb 4, 2008 at 2:16 a.m. ET

Although it began as a game to decide the best in American football, the Super Bowl has become a pop culture giant. From the pre-game red carpet, to the series of concerts and events that encircle the host city, crowning a champion is hardly why most of us watch.

Between the musical acts and the (hopefully) entertaining commercials, those are actually the reasons most of us put up with a 60 minute game taking five hours out of our Sunday.

The show's highlights (sorry football fans):

-         Local girl does good: Jordin Sparks dazzled with her national anthem.
-         Tom Petty reflected the nail-biting game with an explosive halftime set highlighted with "I Won't Back Down," otherwise known as the Giants' theme.
-         "Puppy Bowl" remains the best non-football TV event on Super Bowl Sunday.
-         Celebs were Arizona dreaming: LL Cool J, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, Kurt Russell and Kate Hudson, Pam Anderson and of course, Tom Brady's girlfriend Giselle Bundchen had a Super Sunday. Well, maybe not Giselle -- Patriots lost!

The Super Bowl commercials Top Ten*

* not necessarily the best, just the most eye-popping sights and sounds:
1.                  Fox knows how to promote itself: with commercials running $2.7 million at the minimum, the host network ran over 20 advertisements hawking its own wares from "American Idol" to "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."
2.                  Movies have money: from Disney to Will Farrell, Adam Sandler and Angelina Jolie, we now know the movies with real marketing budgets.
3.                  The Internet is still king: besides beverages (see number 8), the bust must be bull, because over a dozen companies shelled out the big bucks to be seen.
4.                  Coke beats Pepsi again: despite an exclusive first half, Pepsi's ads failed to spark the humor and power of Coke's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the James Carville-former Republican Senate Majority leader Bill Frist's charming spot.
5.                  Funniest commercial: It was the E*Trade talking baby. (See number 3).
6.                  Peanuts can be insulting: an "ugly" girl is drop dead gorgeous because she smells like peanuts?
7.                  Women watch football, too: Sunsilk hair products was the sole "for women only" product advertised.
8.                  Beverages reign supreme: With over two dozen soda, water and beer ads, America must be a thirsty bunch.
9.                  Hybrids make their mark – from the Escalade to Toyota, green is good
10.              Victoria Secret is ready for the real game – after four hours of television, the big game's final big ad gives us an idea about what to do with the rest of our Sunday.

Comments