This Sunday, February 4th is an exciting day for football fans and puppy lovers alike when Animal Planet blows the whistle on their 14th consecutive year of what is, arguably, the most important sporting event of the entire year – the Puppy Bowl!
For the fourth year in a row, the puppies will be playing in teams – Team Ruff versus Team Fluff – so fans can root for their favorite team to win the coveted LomBARKey Trophy! Teams feature 90 adorable players from 48 different shelters and animal rescues from 25 different states – more puppies, from more rescues, and more states than ever before!
PUPPY BOWL XIV features pups rescued from areas that were devastated by natural disasters in 2017, including Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida. A Pit Bull puppy player from Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest Pit Bull rescue in the U.S., is also featured along with Marcel from Pit Bulls & Parolees. Other special needs puppy players this year include, among other players, Ryder (a sight-impaired Husky), Chance (a deaf Dalmatian), Moonshine (a sight-impaired and deaf Border Collie) and Luna (a Pomeranian mix with a cleft palate), who won’t let anything stop them from trying to score the winning touchdown and a loving forever home.
The tail-gating starts with the PUPPY BOWL Pre-Game Show at 2PM ET/11AM PT, featuring aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports anchor James Hound with Rodt Weiler and Sheena Inu serving as pregame show analysts. The competitive canines will conduct their pre-game rituals from the PUPPY BOWL locker room, which includes an all-new locker room webcam. Additionally, Gordon Setter and Greta Dane will serve as pre-game field correspondents.
PUPPY BOWL XIV will be played at the all-new bone-shaped stadium which features more than a dozen cameras, including those embedded in the end zone pylons, to help get audiences closer to the action than ever before. The game kicks off with Jokgu the piano playing chicken from Season 12 of America’s Got Talent pecking out “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the keyboard as an adorable blended bunch of baby barnyard cheerleaders, including ducklings, piglets and baby bunnies, help excite fans on the sidelines throughout the game.
Players’ safety is of the utmost importance on Game Day. A veterinarian along with representatives from the ASPCA and the shelters and rescues providing puppies for the show are on set at all times.
We’re told there’s some other big sporting event happening that day. And, while the Super Bowl may have some fancy new technology on the field this year, they don’t have a water bowl cam or a real live hamster wheel-driven scoreboard, now do they?
Curious how it all comes together? Check out this behind-the-scenes footage from filming the big game:
And, while the Super Bowl halftime show features Justin Timberlake, Puppy Bowl XIV’s celebrations include a Kitten Halftime Show with purrformances by Kitt-ENSYNC singing “Meow Meow Meow” to the tune of *NSYNC’s 2000 hit “Bye Bye Bye.”
Aside from puppy fumbles and terrier touchdowns, the real goal of Puppy Bowl is to bring awareness to animal rescue and adoption. Because the show is filmed months in advance of air time, the puppies featured this Sunday have nearly all found homes – but there are literally hundreds of thousands of dogs in shelters across the country still looking for their forever families.