I’m not a big football fan, but that doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to the day of the Super Bowl every year. No, it’s not for the commercials. It’s not entirely for the snacks either. I get excited to watch the annual Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet!
Erin Wanner, a senior production executive for Animal Planet, told Patch how this annual tradition came about over 15 years ago.
“We put down some turf on the office floor and let some puppies go crazy. We spent three bucks on it. Now it’s a pop culture phenomenon. There’s nothing better than puppies.”
At Puppy Bowl XVI this year, over 90 adoptable rescue dogs from over 60 different shelters and rescues will compete for the title of MVP (Most Valuable Puppy, of course.)
There may not be much structure to their game but the puppies’ Bowl game is vastly superior to football. This year’s match once again pits Team Ruff against Team Fluff. I’ve got a lot of money down on Ruff, so they better not disappoint me!
Puppy Bowl Scouting
The 2020 / XVI roster came about through scouting efforts by Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner and Animal Planet’s very own Puppy Bowl casting department. This team works with rescue organizations nationwide to recruit puppies (and adult dogs for the senior dog “Dog Bowl” the day before.)
Obviously, the goal here is to get these rescue pups adopted. That goal is always exceeded. Puppy Bowl contestants usually get adopted before the event even ends. The game is Animal Planet’s most widely viewed program.
The Puppy Bowl is more than just a cute show for people who don’t want to watch football. It provides widespread exposure for rescues nearby viewers with adoptable dogs. Wanner hopes that reach will continue to grow.
“It’s been 16 years, and I still feel like we’re pressing upward and haven’t begun to see how far we can reach with the Puppy Bowl. It’s part of the pop culture fabric of Super Bowl Sunday.”
The Puppy Bowl XVI Players
Rescues across the country have been proudly announcing the players representing them this year.
Blue Water Area Humane Society in Michigan is one of those ecstatic organizations represented. Logan, one of six brothers saved from a puppy mill situation, now wears the title Professional Athlete. This year he plays for Team Ruff, the rescue shared on Facebook.
“Logan was one of six brothers that were seized from a puppy mill situation by our local animal control. They had been diagnosed with Sarcoptic mange and we stepped up to help. They boys had next to no hair and were unbelievably itchy.”
After a few months of responding well to the treatment, Logan and his brother found their forever homes. Those lucky adopters are now football parents!
Also playing in this year’s Bowl is a Bull Dog/Staffie mix named Rooster. He represents Sanctuary Rescue in Virginia.
“Sanctuary Rescue’s own potato-shaped mascot is a dog-gone Puppy Bowl Super Star who was apparently born to razzle dazzle out on the AstroTurf.” –@sanctuaryrescue/Facebook
You can view the entire adorable XVI roster (including back-up players) on Animal Planet’s website.
I doubt you would, but just in case: don’t forget to watch The Puppy Bowl at 3 pm on February 2nd on Animal Planet! (Go Team Ruff!)