Time for the Puppy Bowl 2016! Tumbling puppies! Adorable kittens! The Puppy Bowl is definitely my favorite Super Bowl tradition.
And this year, you can watch it six times in a row! Puppy Bowl XII premieres on Animal Planet Feb. 7, 2016 at noon Pacific Time (3 p.m. ET), then repeats every other hour for 12 hours straight. Yes, people. 12.Hours.Straight.
Puppy Bowl 2016 – The Backstory
Fans of the heartwarming annual event know the drill: Animal Planet gathers dogs in need of adoption from all around the country, divides them into “Team Ruff” and “Team Fluff,” then plops them onto an AstroTurf field.
Like their human counterparts – those esteemed football players – the puppies climb all over each other for a few hours while trying to drag their chew toys into the end zones. The halftime show is performed by kittens. Yes, kittens. And rumor has it there will be some sort of clothing malfunction involving a tortoise.
The two-hour canine special is actually a compilation of three eight-hour days of filming: one for the kittens and chickens (yes, chickens), and two for the dogs. Let’s consider, for a moment, all those amazing animals, with their human handlers and a 60-person film crew packed into a studio in New York City. The field itself is actually a plexiglass box so small you could fit 24 of them into an NFL end zone.
Check out the practice video…
Meet the Puppy Bowl Referee!
Dan Schachner has been the official referee of the Puppy Bowl since the annual event began in 2005. Word has it his audition tape featured him trying to set up football games in a park with random dogs. Their owners were not amused.
“There’s a lot to pay attention to,” notes Dan. “Is this one peeing too much? Is this one napping too long? Is this one biting too much?”
Filming of Puppy Bowl XII included 315 bags, used to clean up the inevitable puppy poo. Urine is a little trickier. so the studio lays down 1500 training pads on every inch of the floor. Some lucky person gets to replace the pads after they’re, ahem, used.
If a dog poos on the field, Dan gets to make this call: “Excessive fertilization!”
But you won’t see any romantic shenanigans on the field. “Fornication was outlawed by Animal Planet,” says Dan. “It happens, and we record the penalty, but when it comes time to editing, it doesn’t make the cut because it’s not family friendly enough.” Whew.
The 49 puppies in the Puppy Bowl are all available for adoption in shelters nationwide. Most of them find their forever home between the taping, which takes place in October, and the game’s air date. But Animal Planet hopes viewers will look online for the players and fall in love with other shelter dogs.
This year’s Puppy Bowl will include a special PSA about adopting older canines. Dan and his wife and two sons foster older dogs in the New York area. Dogs live with them while the shelter looks to find them homes.
Puppy Bowl XII airs at noon Pacific Time on Animal Planet on Sunday, Feb. 7. Now it’s time to meet the puppies! Click any image to see a larger view.