Super Bowl Sunday is always a day-long event and the festivities start mid-afternoon when 49 of the cutest puppies take the football field for Puppy Bowl XII. Originally airing in 2005, Animal Planet has hosted the adorably furry competition in support of pet adoption for over a decade.
Puppies are split into two teams, #TeamFluff and #TeamRuff, and are let loose on a miniature football field. There is no score, but there is colorful play-by-play commentary to follow the rambunctious and unpredictable fur balls.
Things can get pretty feisty between the players, too -- after all, there is a lot on the line!
This year, they've partnered with 44 animal shelters and rescue organizations from across the country to fill the two teams' rosters. The network also partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to honor legendary puppy players and bolster interest in adoption of older animals.
Rescue groups for this year's participants span 25 states, including, Nevada, Arizona, New York, Virginia, Florida, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee and others. Animal Planet's year-wide effort to promote pet adoption has led to more than 3,000 animals finding new homes.
Don't get too attached to little critters on the field, though: The game was filmed in October, so those adoptable pups are most likely already in new homes. But to keep things interesting, there's always Puppy Bowl Fantasy Game. Much like the fantasy football team you yelled at all season, you can do a full scouting report on the players and create a team.
Not everyone was excited that the halftime performers for Super Bowl 50 were going to be Coldplay, Bruno Mars and Beyonce. For those, Animal Planet will air its annual kitty halftime show, which follows cats wreaking havoc around San Francisco landmarks. Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, Inc. provided the kittens for the halftime event.
The channel is filled with all kinds of animal involvement on Super Bowl Sunday, including assistant ref Stanley the Skunk, big-haired silkie chicken cheerleaders and "Meep the Bird" with all the Twitter updates. The Puppy Bowl will also feature "Pup Close and Personal" segments, highlighting adorable animal bonds between puppy players and their best friends -- including a kitten and a hedgehog!
And don't forget, you can tune in beforehand for the Puppy Bowl pregame show, highlighting all the cute contestants and predicting how the matchup might unfold.
How to Watch
When: 3 p.m. ET
TV: Animal Planet
Online: Animal Planet LIVE
Starting lineup: You can check out all 49 pups by following this link.
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Super Bowl 50: Watch Lady Gaga perform the national anthem
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