Man, of all the bowls, the Super Bowl is probably the most egotistical. Super Bowl? Pshaw. More like the Not-Super Bowl. Yeah, I said it. First played in 1967, the Super Bowl was the brainchild of some guys who loved football almost as much as they loved Roman numerals (Super Bowl XL was the year that it was at its t-shirt-sizey-ist). The “big game” marks the end of the NFL season and this is apparently a “big deal” – Super Bowl XLV was the most watched television broadcast in America last year.
But if you ask me – and maybe you aren’t asking me, but let’s just pretend you are the only bowl worth watching this weekend is the Puppy Bowl VII – Animal Planet’s annual Yule Log-esque special, featuring roughly (or, ahem, ruffly) two hours of adorable puppies playing on a model football stadium replete with chew toys and water bowls. Yep, water bowls. So that’s two bowls you’re getting for the price of one. Already, I think you’re starting to see why the Puppy Bowl is better than whatever’s happening in Indianapolis this Sunday.
1. Puppies play for the love of the game, not for the money.
Do you know how much money New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker makes annually? I don’t. But I’m guessing it’s a lot. Do you know how much Baskin the 15-week-old Jack Russell/Pug mix will be paid this weekend for running up and down the Animal Planet Stadium gridiron? Nothing. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. There aren’t any signing bonuses or workout bonuses or contract negotiations in the National Puppy League. The Puppy Bowl is pure – it’s all about fun.
2. You don’t have to worry about missing the play of the game.
Inevitably, while watching the Super Bowl, you’ll have to step away from the TV for a second to go to the bathroom or grab a drink or work on your taxes and in doing this, you risk missing whichever moment eventually becomes synonymous with this year’s game. Yeah, they’ll replay it, but that just isn’t the same as watching it in real time. Leave during the commercial break, and you risk missing some great ad that everyone will be discussing for the rest of the evening. Check Hulu to watch the ad online, and once again, you risk missing that astounding play. With the Puppy Bowl, there’s a nice equilibrium – no one minute of the game is more or less important than the next because it’s just puppies running around, barking at each other, and gnawing on chew toys. This is stress-free viewing, people. There’s absolutely no reason for you to pull a Tycho Brahe (you can go pee whenever you want) or a Willie Nelson (you can do your taxes whenever you want).
3. There’s no kicking game.
Everyone hates the kicker, right? Well, there are no kickers in the Puppy Bowl, only lickers. Get it? ’Cause they’re dogs…and they lick things…including their junk.
4. The half-time show.
This year Madonna will be performing during the Super Bowl half-time show. Do you know what’s more entertaining than Madonna? At this point, almost everything but kittens in particular. Puppy Bowl’s half-time show is a bunch of kittens standing on a play structure, looking sort of terrified but also very adorable.
5. The puppies are adoptable.
All Puppy Bowl participants are shelter dogs and can be adopted, while you aren’t usually allowed to adopt professional football players.
6. Puppies don’t wear helmets so you can actually see what they look like and what they look like is freakin’ cute.
Does anyone really know what Tom Brady looks like? Sure, we’re occasionally shown footage or photos of a blond man who is allegedly the Patriots’ quarterback, but with that helmet on during the game, who can be certain. Puppy Bowl participants don’t wear helmets because the whole affair is a lot less dangerous and tons fluffier than football (a full contact sport reported to cause brain injury) so there’s no questioning their identities. And, most importantly, the lack of face obstructing headgear allows us all to totally drink in the preciousness of these little dogs. We can see those big ol’ glassy eyes, those floppy ears, those teeny wet noses. Does Eli Manning have a wet nose? Probably. But it isn’t nearly as cute as the one on 10-week-old Rat Terrier Joni.
Extra Point: Sometimes the puppies pee on the AstroTurf.
And because you don’t have to clean it up, it’s funny.