The Puppybowl

 The Puppy Bowl is an annual event that is based on the widely known Superbowl Sunday. They both take place on the same day, and in 2024 that particular day was February 11th. This event consists of puppies running around and playing in a mini football stadium with toy footballs. It is purely meant for entertainment purposes and is viewed by millions worldwide each year. For example, in 2023, the event went on for 3 hours and reached over 13 million views.

The first ever Puppy Bowl aired in 2005, but it wasn’t what it is known to be now because it was only a test game to see how the event would perform on television. It began with Animal Planet’s managers asking to devise a counter program for the Super Bowl. They just made a joke about “having puppies in a box and pointing a camera at it.“ They tested this idea out with a few dozen dogs from local shelters and couldn’t believe how well it did. From then on, they had to figure out how they could make a profit from such a program. The 2006 Puppy Bowl had ads for Subaru lining the stadium and a kitten halftime show was also added, but that backfired because after the confetti cannons were fired all of the cats ended up wanting to leap out of their enclosure. Scorekeeping and uniforms was then added in the 2016 Puppy Bowl and a sloth was introduced as an assistant referee for three years. 

The Puppy Bowl is not only beneficial for spectators as it brings them a sense of happiness, but for the puppies participating as well. According to Animal Planet, all 1,298 dogs that have played in past Puppy Bowls have been adopted. The event results in a huge surge of interest in shelters whose puppies take the field. 

The 131 players participating in the 2024 Puppy Bowl were selected through an online casting call sent out over the summer. Puppies from more than 70 shelters and rescue centers across the United States were asked to attend. 

The Puppy Bowl used a big part of their airtime to include commercials that encourage the viewers to adopt pets, especially senior dogs as well as puppies with special needs. Erika Proctor, the director of Green Dogs Unleashed, a special needs animal rescue center, estimated that she gets close to 100 emails during the day of the Puppy Bowl asking about adoptions and training. 


Edited by: Katerina Romanides