This week, America is getting ready for the big game, and no we don’t mean the Super Bowl. Every year, fans gather to watch the Puppy Bowl, the cutest show on turf. And it turns out, the behind the scenes action is even more adorable than the actual game.
1. There are plenty of “happy little accidents”
In a Reddit AMA, Puppy Bowl “Ruferee” Dan Schachner admitted, “if I don’t get peed on, it’s not Puppy Bowl.” These kinds of accidents are pretty common among young dogs, so the show’s producers actually encourage the waterworks. However, the offenders don’t go completely unpunished. “Watering the lawn” results in a five yard penalty, while “fouling the field” (also called “dropping a Cleveland Brown”) is a ten yard penalty.
Those aren’t the only cute fouls though. Doggies can also be punished for “unnecessary rrruff-ness,” “paws interference” (pass interference), “rough sides” (offsides), and “dog-collar tackle” (horse-collar tackle). This year, one dog was even penalized for “unsportsmanlike humping,” something Peyton Manning should probably watch out for. The cutest penalty though is “wallflowering” where a puppy is too shy to play with the other dogs. When that happens, Schachner has to encourage the pup to get more involved.
2. You can draft a Fantasy Puppy Bowl team
For those those of us who can’t enjoy a sport unless it involves directly demoralizing your friends and loved ones, Animal Planet has given us Fantasy Puppy Bowl. The rules are pretty simple, you pick a team of three pups (Boris, Kevin, and Ranger are the founding members of my Philadelphia Beagles). On game day, the puppies are awarded points for certain stats including touchdowns, field goals, takeaways, and tackles.
If you’re looking for a hot tip, referee Schachner called several puppies from Team Fluff good sleeper candidates (literally). As for specific pups, Schachner recommends Wrinkles and Star. It’s also worth pointing out that four of the eleven Puppy Bowl MVPs have been terriers (no other breed has more than 1 MVP). If you want to draft full squad of terriers, Darby, Miss Sassy, and Timon are safe picks (a behind the scenes photo from Rolling Stone even shows Miss Sassy scoring a touchdown).
3. The Puppy Bowl is not without it’s own controversies
America was obsessed with the “Deflategate” scandal, but that’s nothing compared to the historic “Double Touchdown” from Puppy Bowl VII. The biggest difference between the Puppy Bowl and the Super Bowl (besides, you know, the puppies) is the fact the game is played with multiple balls. This means that two puppies can score at the same time, which happened during Puppy Bowl VII.
“And a lot of controversy ensued when we played back the tape,” Schachner explained,”People didn’t think both balls crossed at the exact same time – some people thought it got there sooner by half an inch, and we watched that game tape back and back and back – and I will say to this day that it was truly at the same time. So the historic double-touchdown – BAM!”
4. Filming the Puppy Bowl is surprisingly hard work
The Puppy Bowl only lasts two hours, but it takes two full days to film and even longer to produce. There are 17 cameras stationed around the stadium which results in thousands of hours of adorable footage that then needs to be watched, logged, and edited down into a two hour game.
There’s also the issue of keeping dozens of young pups focused. In order keep the animals on task, toys are littered around stadium. Producers have said that toys that are either loud or sausage shaped usually get the most attention. If that’s not adorable enough for you, producers have also revealed that peanut butter is usually smeared around the camera lenses to encourage the puppies to lick the cameras. The Packers should probably consider this use of food-based incentives for Eddie Lacy.
5. You can watch the Puppy Bowl in 360
For the first time ever, you can watch the Puppy Bowl in virtual reality – 360 degrees of adorable gridiron action. To get ready for the big game, you can watch all of the Puppy Bowl practices above in 360. In the words of the Animal Planet, “It’s a Ruff versus Fluff free–for–all you don’t want to miss.”
6. It’s not just about puppies
As you probably know, all of the animals featured in the Puppy Bowl are available for adoption. This year, Animal Planet worked with over forty animal shelters to find the members of Team Ruff and Team Fluff. However the show isn’t all about puppies. The game also features other animals including a social media using cockatiel named “Meep” and a half-time performer called “Catty Furry.” The Puppy Bowl even approached the real Katy Perry to ask if her cat, Kitty Purry, wanted to perform at the game, but she was Hot N Cold on the idea.
This year, Animal Planet has also partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to honor Puppy Bowl veterans and promote the adoption of older animals. If you’re interested in learning more about the organizations involved in Puppy Bowl XII, you can visit Animal Planet’s Pet Adoption Resources page.
You can watch Puppy Bowl XII on Sunday, Feb. 7 at 3PM ET.
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