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Puppy Bowl XIV

Since 2005, Animal Planet has been hosting an animal-centric event alongside the Super Bowl. While providing quality entertainment and a feel-good atmosphere, the Puppy Bowl raises awareness for shelters all across the nation. The two teams featured, Team Ruff and Team Fluff, are composed of shelter pups and compete for the title of Puppy Bowl champion. Team Fluff entered Puppy Bowl XIV as the defending champions, winning the previous year with a score of 93-38.

The rules of Puppy Bowl are fairly simple, touchdowns are scored when a puppy carries a toy into either end zone, awarding their respective team seven points. Players can also earn three points through a field goal by knocking toys into or past an endzone. Puppies who score two or more touchdowns are nominated for the title of MVP, which is voted on by the fans watching. The nominees this year were J-Paw of Team Ruff and Bear and Sally of Team Fluff. By popular vote, Bear took the title of MVP.

Watching puppies play is entertaining enough, the fun doesn’t stop there. Dogs aren’t the only animals in the spotlight; Puppy Bowl XIV featured a cheerleading squad comprised of bunnies, piglets, and ducklings, all of which were rescues. A sloth served as assistant referee, and Meep the bird tweeted updates during the game. This year, the Kitty Halftime Show was an actual performance created by Aaron’s Animals of YouTube, replacing the usual show where kittens were set loose in the stadium.

The Puppy Bowl is an endearing and wonderful spectacle that showcases man’s best friend, although it is not nearly as action-oriented as the Super Bowl. Still, watching your favorite puppy wrestle with an opponent or fellow team member is exciting, and a rush of pride comes whenever they score a touchdown. Even those who aren’t necessarily animal lovers can find something to love about it, and it makes a great warm-up before watching the Super Bowl.

While it is filmed during October, the Puppy Bowl airs at three o’clock the Sunday of the Super Bowl. Fans of both do not have to prioritize one over the other or flip between two channels since the first airing of the Puppy Bowl occurs before the Super Bowl. For those who missed it, the Puppy Bowl is still available on Animal Planet’s website.