It's Super Bowl Sunday! Are You Ready For Some Puppy Bowl?

By Meera Dolasia on February 5, 2017

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Photo Credit: Animal Planet

Wish to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday celebrations, but skip the NFL game? Then tune into Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl! The idea to create a show that features puppies “playing” ball came about in 2005 when the programming team was brainstorming ways to attract viewers on Super Bowl Sunday. While filming the animals on a football field was initially suggested in jest, it resonated with the team. After all, who doesn't like watching cute puppies frolicking around?

It turns out they were right. The first Puppy Bowl, starring two teams of adorable dog “players” selected from rescue shelters across the country, attracted 5.6 million viewers over a 12-hour period. Now in its 13th year, the show draws over 12 million people and is one of the most-watched cable shows on Super Bowl Sunday.

Photo Credit: Animal Planet

To qualify for the Puppy Bowl, the dogs have to be between 12 and 21 weeks old. They also have to be well-socialized, vaccinated, and, due to the scaled-down size of the football field, meet certain height and weight restrictions. During the championship game, playful canines are let loose to tackle, bite, and fight for the toys and bones scattered around the small stadium. A touchdown is declared whenever a player manages to drag his/her toy to the end zone. Players are flagged by a human referee for “painter-fur-ence,” “unnecessary ruffness,” or relieving themselves on the field. Timeouts are declared each time the water bowl runs dry.

This year, the fun will begin at 2:00 p.m. (EST) with a pregame show featuring commentary from special sports correspondent “Rodt Weiler.” An hour later, legendary weather-predicting groundhog, Mr. Punxsutawney Phil, and two members of his inner circle will officiate the coin toss and declare the start of Puppy Bowl XIII between “Team Ruff’ and “Team Fluff.”

Photo Credit: Animal Planet

Though the starting lineup will comprise 39 dogs, a total of 78 adorable puppies from 34 rescue shelters across 22 states will have an opportunity to play. Among them will be three dogs with disabilities — Doobert (hearing-impaired), Lucky (three-legged), and Winston (sight and hearing-impaired). Dazzling routines by a team of rabbit and pig cheerleaders will help get fans into the spirit, while Meep, an African grey parrot, will analyze the game and also send out live tweet updates throughout the competition! The half-time show will feature the Chicago Rock Cats, headlined by Kitty Gaga purring her way through “Puparazzi.”

For the first time in the Puppy Bowl’s 13 year history, winners will walk away with more than just bragging — should we say wagging — rights? They will also receive the “Lombarky Trophy,” a large Petco-branded stuffed toy. To accommodate fans wishing to watch the NFL football game as well, Animal Planet plans to replay the two-hour broadcast numerous times during the day.

Photo Credit: Animal Planet

Besides providing entertainment, the adorable animals that participate in the Puppy Bowl are also available for adoption. Fans watching the show can view his/her profile on Animal Planet’s website and be instantly connected to the rescue center where he/she resides. According to the television channel, since the event is filmed and publicized over three months before Super Bowl Sunday, many of the dogs have already been spoken for, before the broadcast.

Not surprisingly, the show’s popularity has resulted in numerous copycats. Non-football fans now have the option of tuning into Hallmark Channel’s Kitty Bowl, National Geographic Wild’s Fish Bowl and debuting this year, Bunnie Bowl, which will be streamed live on the Facebook page of its sponsor, Annie’s Homegrown!


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Reading Comprehension (11 questions)

  1. How did the idea of the Puppy Bowl originate?
  2. How many people watched the show the first year?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Why is it necessary to film the Puppy Bowl in advance? 

Vocabulary in Context

The half-time show will feature the Chicago Rock Cats, headlined by Kitty Gaga purring her way through “Puparazzi.”

In the above sentence, the word headlined most likely...

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  • Pikachu Knight Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 9:17 am
    #Adorabull swag bru!!!!!!!!!!!
    • sofia-luvs-kats
      sofia-luvs-katsMonday, July 10, 2017 at 12:57 pm
      I luv this so much!!!! It is super cute and I just want to squeeze their cheecks out.
      • ant1000aaMonday, June 19, 2017 at 10:41 am
        i have a dog and he and is team entered and he won the prize amazing right
        • millykiscool
          millykiscoolWednesday, July 5, 2017 at 3:18 pm
          I feel like this is not true this was for dogs who needed a home and some disabled dogs.
          • fireball7878
            fireball7878Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 8:57 am
            That is amazing
          • yok
            yokTuesday, June 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm
            I wish i could go
            • yok
              yokTuesday, June 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm
              • Donald Trump Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 5:22 pm
                Go Trump
                • Stephen CurrySunday, June 11, 2017 at 5:14 pm
                  Go Warriors
                  • ivivviaWednesday, June 7, 2017 at 7:04 am
                    • M.kFriday, June 2, 2017 at 7:32 am
                      there soooooooooo cute
                      • NMWednesday, May 31, 2017 at 9:46 pm
                        This is so cooooooooooooooooooool.

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