No fan of Super Bowl football? Try the 'Puppy Bowl'

The tenth annual 'Puppy Bowl' will be broadcast Sunday. Sixty shelter and rescue dogs will take part in this display of friendly canine mayhem that now draws millions of viewers.

Mark Von Holden/ Discovery Communications/AP
Canine athletes warm up for Puppy Bowl X at the Discovery Times Square Experience in New York. The sporting event will be broadcast on Animal Planet Sunday afternoon.

I know it’s hard to believe, but there actually are a few people who won’t be watching Super Bowl LXVIII, a game played by Roman senators in togas who argue about the declension of Latin nouns. No, I mean padded beefers who don’t have what it takes to play rugby.

Anyway, if you’re among those sorry few Americans who won’t be among more than 100 million people in 198 countries watching the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos battle for the sterling silver Vince Lombardi Trophy, there’s another competition that may be more to your liking.

Yes, we’re talking about “Puppy Bowl X,” to be broadcast Sunday at 3 pm (ET and PT) on the Animal Planet TV channel.

It’s sure to be a major dose of cuteness overload, not to mention far less pretentious than the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Scrappy with the potential for high-speed collisions and maybe even biting, but with fewer of those concussions that make football so worrisome. “Accidents” in the end zone, maybe, but none of those boastful touchdown displays.

As touted by Animal Planet, “Puppy Bowl returns for its tenth consecutive year with an all-star, all-adorable cast that's ready to mix it up on the grand gridiron of Animal Planet Stadium. Puppy Bowl X brings viewers a loveable lineup that's itching to play in a winning combination of terrier tackles, touchdowns, puppy penalties, fumbles and Fido first downs.”

As if that were not enough excitement, “back for another year is the popular Bissel Kitten Halftime Show, guaranteed to bring the house down! And, sideline reporter "Meep the Bird" will return to tweet live updates throughout the game.”

Last year, more than 12 million viewers tuned in during multiple airings.

Puppies gather on the field, eager to be the first to grab a plush football or other toy, then run into the end zone with the others in hot pursuit.

Some 60 dogs from 30 animal shelters and rescue groups around the country participate. Officiating is New York actor and TV announcer Dan Schachner.

“I have the best job in the world,” he told American Profile magazine. “You have to love dogs, but you also have to be fearless. And you can’t be afraid to pick up poop.”

Among the starting lineup:

Twelve week-old Labrador Retriever/Sato mix Artemis, who “goes nuts for cat videos.”

Bernese Mountain Dog/Poodle mix Bach (14 weeks), who “thinks Mozart is overrated.”

Spaniel Cody (12 weeks), who “thinks fatherhood has mellowed Kanye.”

Bassett Hound Lily (13 weeks), who “tries not to step on her own ears.”

Siberian Husky Suri (14 weeks), who thinks “they should cut Miley Cyrus some slack.”

Nobody keeps score, but an MVP is named. (That's "Most Valuable Puppy.") If prior years are a guide, all will be quickly adopted from their shelters or rescue organizations. The fundamental principle is to encourage adoption of shelter animals.

My rascally Welsh corgi brothers Dodger and Dylan would be perfect competitors. They go tennis ball-nuts at the dog park. They’ll be tuning in here to offer commentary on the Puppy Bowl.

Trib Total Media in Pennsylvania notes other alternate Super Bowl programming:

The Kitten Bowl: This new, competing bowl airs from noon to 3 p.m. on Hallmark channel and then runs in repeats until midnight.

The Fish Bowl: Goldie the goldfish will entertain in “Fish Bowl I” from 6 to 10 p.m. on Nat Geo Wild, then starting all over again, at 10 p.m.

The Toilet Bowl: The “King of Thrones” series on Destination America refurbishes dull-and-dingy bathrooms. Among the creations: a porta-potty for ice-fishing purposes. Catch it from noon-3 p.m.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.