It’s safe to say we’re big—nay super—fans of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. Some of us almost like the Puppy Bowl more than the Super Bowl, and that’s saying a lot because Rover HQ is home to reigning Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks.
In honor of the biggest show of the year that runs opposite that other biggest show of the year (you know, the one with footballs), we bring you 10 things you never knew about the Puppy Bowl.
1. All those adorable Puppy Bowl puppies are shelter dogs
Everyone loves a good player back story, which is why everyone should love the back stories of each and every one of the Puppy Bowl lineup: They’re all shelter dogs!
Flown in from rescues across the country, each and every one of those adorably fluffy dogs is 100% adoptable. The only thing better than adopting a shelter dog is adopting a Puppy Bowl world champion shelter dog. (But really, there’s nothing better than adopting a shelter dog.) Yay Puppy Bowl adoption!
2. Just like the NFL, there’s a sideline vet on-hand at the Puppy Bowl
You’ve gotta make sure the players are staying safe, healthy and hydrated during the big match.
Also on the field? Reps from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Humane Association to ensure each dog gets VIP treatment and everyone is playing nicely.
3. Two words: Goat. Cheerleaders.
2015 is the 10th anniversary of the Puppy Bowl. We can only hope the Puppy Bowl’s 10th birthday involves something extra special. Like puppy-proof cake. We do know that this year’s event features the first-ever competitive scoring system and goat cheerleaders, though. It doesn’t get any better than this, folks.
4. The Puppy Bowl takes days to film—and over 50 dogs
Unlike the Super Bowl (which lasts for four-ish hours) the Puppy Bowl is a multi-day, double-digit hours production with a crazy number of staffers and volunteers and upwards of 60 dogs.
It sounds intense, but don’t worry—the players get a break from the game every 20-30 minutes. Woof!
5. The 2014 Puppy Bowl featured a poppin’ tailgate party
Emphasis on the tail.
It wouldn’t be a tailgate party without some unexpected guests, so the Animal Planet invited kittens and cats, penguins, hamsters, party dogs and police dogs—just in case things got a little out of hand.
Another fun fact? Every tailgate partier was also up for adoption…with the exception of the penguins.
6. Dogs are inspired to lick the camera with peanut butter
Believe it or not, the dogs are not naturally drawn to the camera with a primal desire to lick the lens. We’ve got peanut butter to thank for that, which is very much driven by a primal desire to eat all the things.
7. Those puppies go through a lot of toys
The Puppy Bowl goes down on a 10-by-19-foot field in the one-and-only New York, and the football—er, toys—are swapped out every 20 minutes to make sure everyone stays fully entertained for the duration of the filming.
Anything that makes noise or resembles meat is the ultimate in the eyes of the contender, which makes all the sense in the world.
8. You must be this tall to play in the Puppy Bowl
Just like in the land of the pros, not everyone is cut out to be a Puppy Bowl player (even though we’re sure the fine humans at Animal Planet would love to have ’em).
Players must be between 12-21 weeks old and fit within certain height and weight parameters.
To get a sense of the puppies’ true size, the puppies send in a mug shot comparing them to a soda can.
9. There’s a lot of poop. A LOT.
It wouldn’t be the Puppy Bowl without—wait for it—poop!
Yep. There’s an average of four, uh, presents for every 20 minutes of play, and bathroom breaks during timeouts and halftime are heavily encouraged.
10. Keep an eye out for Katty Purry…
And speaking of halftime, this year’s kitty halftime show features none other than Katty Purry. So it’s basically our fantasy Puppy Bowl and is going to be the best thing that’s ever happened to television.
And while we’re on the topic of fantasy Puppy Bowl, let’s talk about how you can create a fantasy Puppy Bowl team. The magic of the internet, people.
This year’s matchup is between Team Ruff and Team Fluff! Who do you think will come out the winner? (Trick question: Every pup is a winner!)