10 Reasons We Love the "Puppy Bowl"

Puppy Bowl X

The 10th edition of the canine alternative to the Super Bowl airs Sunday on Animal Planet.

Jan 31, 2014 | 06:17 PM

This Sunday, as the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks face off during Super Bowl XLVIII, a batch of adorable puppies will be mimicking the Big Game from Animal Planet's model stadium during "Puppy Bowl X." Here are 10 reasons why we love the biggest four-legged event of the season:

1. The puppies featured in the "Puppy Bowl" are from shelters: These cute rescued canines have a chance to not only live a happy life, but also to become doggy football stars.   

2. The plays: Not to be outdone by the NFL, the "Puppy Bowl" offers a series of exciting (and extremely cute) plays, such as "terrier tackles," "puppy penalties," and "Fido first downs." 

3. The "Bowl Cam": A "bowl cam" shoots upwards through the transparent bottom of a water bowl built into the Animal Planet Stadium floor, which allows viewers to watch the puppies rehydrate during the big game. 

4. The "Kitty Halftime Show: At the one-hour, 15-minute mark, the puppies leave the field and a variety of kittens enter for the Kitty Halftime Show, featuring kittens playing for 30 minutes with lights, laser pens, balls of yarn, a scratching post, flint sweepers, etc.  

5. The stadium: The Animal Planet Stadium is 19 feet long by 10 feet wide. Cameras used to tape the show generated about 50 hours of footage in 2011, and some are placed inside toys to give a puppy's-eye view of the action.

6. The commentary: Announcers use actual football terminology to describe the puppies' behavior, such as when a puppy drags one of the football-shaped toys into the end zone ("puppy touchdown") or when the dogs relieve themselves on the field ("puppy penalty"). 

7. Lots of puppies: The 2013 show featured 63 puppies, with 10 on the "field" at a time. A total of 66 puppies will be used for the show in 2014. 

8. The licking: Peanut butter is smeared around camera lenses to encourage the puppies to lick the camera. Need we say more?

9. The cheerleaders: "Bunny cheerleaders," "chicken cheerleaders," "penguin cheerleaders" and even a "piggy pep squad" have been shown on the sidelines, rooting for their favorite puppy players.

10. The Advertising: OK, so maybe the advertising isn't as big-budget as it is for the Super Bowl, but ad revenue for the 2013 show was up 19% from 2012, and drew a number of new brands. Animal Planet also allowed commercial branding of its "stadium" in 2013. All this bodes well for more Puppy Bowls to come.

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