Every year I tell myself I’m not really going to watch the whole Puppy Bowl. But once again, I couldn’t pull myself away from the field of puppies falling over each other, napping, playing tug-of-war and flopping their giant paws into the water bowls with cameras underneath. With new gags and features added every year, Puppy Bowl is like a slightly choreographed, multi-breed, multimedia version of the Shiba Inu Cam – you can’t stop watching.
A beagle named Matilda won Most Valuable Puppy by carrying a football toy around the field, but many eyes were on Shroeder, a puppy who kept falling asleep on the football in the middle of the action. Then there were the publicity stunts.
“Cover your eyes, folks,” veteran football announcer Harry Kalas Halas deadpanned. “We’ve got a puppy streaker on the field. In all my years of puppy-casting I have never seen anything like this.” The delicate puppy, Sarah Jessica Barker, a hairless Chinese crested trotted around the field (genitals blocked out by an on-screen box) until Referee Andrew Schechter scooped her up. “I try to keep the show G-rated,” he told PEOPLE Pets.
Another controversy: Pepper, a rescued African grey parrot bobbed her head on stage and we all heard a screeching anthem – but Pepper’s beak wasn’t moving in time. Turns out the real singer, Boozle, has stage fright. “We are comparing it to the Olympics when they had one little girl sing and the other on stage pretending to sing,” says spokesperson Erin Pryor.