For people who do not love football — or only care about football when their team or teams are playing, and their team or teams didn’t even make the playoffs this year — the only reason to watch the Super Bowl is to watch the ads. We’ve shushed our friends and loved ones as the Super Bowl logo has swooshed across the screen ushering in a new ad break. We’ve laughed, cried, and jeered as each 30-to-60 second spot played, instantly debating its humor and effectiveness: “I loved the part when Betty White got tackled!” “Ed McMahon shilling for gold-related websites makes me sad.” “Wazzzzuuuuuuuuup!” We’ve talked far more about animated polar bears and honorable Clydesdales and adorable mini-Darth Vaders the next day than practically any touchdown pass or option play. This is all such an integral part of what it means to be an American — nay, to be a citizen of this planet we call Earth — that I think it was retroactively written into the Constitution, Magna Carta, and Plato’s Republic.

Of course, I have been spending the last week or so quivering with outrage, so I could be exaggerating just a twinge. Because, as of this writing, at least 38 Super Bowl ads have already been released on the Internet, either as they’ll air tonight, as a quick snippet teaser, or in an extended form. And. That. Is. Just. WRONG.

The pleasure I’ll take in seeing Jerry Seinfeld try to land a sweet new Audi today will be like eating warmed over Chinese food: Faded flavor that leaves me even hungrier. I’ve already rolled my eyes at Melanie Amaro’s dance-mix cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” in her candy-colored Pepsi ad — doing it again today won’t have nearly the same snarky spark. And as much fun as I had expressing my (mostly mock) outrage over the notion of an adult Ferris Bueller hawking any product on the Super Bowl, I would’ve had even more fun doing so with while scarfing down hot wings in front of my friend’s big-screen 3-D TV — instead of while eating a sensible lunch at my desk.

Yes, I ultimately only have myself to blame for watching these ads ahead of time in the first place. And I understand the companies behind these ads want to get the best bang for the many, many, many bucks they’re spending on the Super Bowl, which is why they’ve decided to advertise for their advertisements. But that still doesn’t shake my conviction that Super Bowl ads should first air on the Super Bowl, and all these extended-cuts should hit the Web after the Vince Lombardi trophy has been bestowed to the winning team.

Who’s with me?

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