There is absolutely no excuse for anyone to miss Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl X.
The annual furry event coincides with the NFL's Super Bowl XLVIII and will start at 3 p.m. EST on Feb. 2—a full three hours before the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos kick off.
As the 10th edition of the wildly successful spectacle—12.4 million people watched last year's edition in total, per Discovery Communications—the hosts have gone out of their way to improve the product, much as the NFL did with its Pro Bowl, via a fantasy football approach to the action.
While the game itself only lasts two hours, other factors outside of the action on the "field," such as penguin cheerleaders and a “Kitty Halftime Show,” provide something for everyone in a family-friendly showcase.
Fans are surely painfully counting the minutes until the event, as is “Meep the Bird,” Animal Planet's sideline reporter (who has more than 26,000 followers!):
Beak-Deep in #PuppyBowl preparations. It's going to be an awesome day!— meepthebird (@meepthebird) January 31, 2014
When: Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3 p.m. EST
Where: Times Square in New York
TV: Animal Planet
Fantasy Implementation Takes Things to New Level
Fans of Animal Planet's genius idea (come on, admit it) treat it as serious business. Dan Schachner, the aptly named "rufferee" of the contest, explains how serious some viewers can be, via Maura Judkis of The Washington Post:
"People take it more seriously than any of us do. I’ve gotten tweets from fans who were like, ‘No, that wasn’t technically a holding call, or a face mask—he didn’t put the paws on that puppy’s snout.’"
Things are about to get even more intense for a section of the viewers, as they can now draft a fantasy lineup and track statistics as they would with an NFL game.
There are 38 puppies in the starting lineup to choose from—all of which come from shelters and rescue groups and will eventually find new homes, as the release details:
Stay tuned until the end of the game to find out where your favorite pooches are now. Over the last nine seasons, hundreds of orphan puppies have appeared in PUPPY BOWL and have all since found their fur-ever homes!
Selecting a fantasy lineup takes no strategy whatsoever other than a personal preference for looks and the short bio on each puppy's page. For example, Lucy, who "wants her paws on the Hollywood Walk of Fame" clearly has her game face on for the event. But do not forget Coco, who has a controversial stance in that she "hopes LA gets an NFL team soon."
Regardless of which puppies viewers decide on for the big game, entertainment is sure to be had by all. Animal Planet has discovered a niche that is quickly outgrowing that classification, as the Puppy Bowl is evolving into a national phenomenon.
Do not be the one to miss out on Super Bowl Sunday.