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The Definitive Bud Bowl Rankings

29 January 2014 No Comment

It’s been over 15 years (UPDATE: now 16) since we last saw an edition of the Bud Bowl, Budweiser’s brilliant Super Bowl commercial/game within a game. But here they are now, in a thorough ranking and celebration of beer bottles playing football on television.

The tagline for Bud Bowl I was simple: This time, it’s for real!

And it was tough to disagree. After all, what could be more real than bottles of beer playing football?

We were lucky enough to witness six gripping editions of Bud Bowl, the all-important Budweiser Football League game that decided who would be that year's Ruler of the Cooler. (Technically, there was also a Bud Bowl VII and VIII. They have been excluded from this list and stricken from the record. They were not good. Let us never speak of them again.)

What made Bud Bowl so great? For one, it gave us true heroes of the gridiron: The Appliance of Defiance! The Beechwood Twins! Budway Joe!

It gave us great moments: The snow fumble in Bud Bowl II! The ball-in-the-tuba in Bud Bowl III! Mike Ditka's wind-blown face in Bud Bowl VI!

And above all, it gave us what we wanted most: Beer and football, together in a Super Bowl ad that Americans could gamble on during breaks from a real football game that we were also gambling on. It was the best of times; it was the best of times.

These are the six Bud Bowls, ranked in order of greatness:

Bud Bowl IV

Game summary: This was the first Bud Bowl ad to focus almost entirely on the $ 1 million grand prize for home viewers. (Bud gave away Lotto-style Bud Bowl tickets via retailers nationwide.) Sadly, that took the emphasis away from the action on the field. We see one of the Beechwood Twins running in a score early in the game, but that’s the only in-game action. At the end of the game, Chris Berman's yelling that Bud's made a big 27–24 comeback. We'll have to take your word for it, Chris.

Announcer: Chris Berman

Best quote: Berman throws out pretty much every catchphrase in this one. (“Rumbling, bumbling, stumbling!” “He. Could. Go. All. The. Way!” “Baaaaaack back-back-back-back-baaack!”) “FUM-BULLLLL!” is the best line in here almost by default.

Memorable moment: The time a man flies through a window and lands on his own couch, and no one in his house thinks to call an ambulance.

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