February 6, 2017
Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XIII was the first Puppy Bowl to air simultaneously on both coasts when it premiered on February 5, 2017 (Super Bowl Sunday) with three hours of puppies playing a mock football game. The inaugural Petco Lombarky trophy was awarded in Puppy Bowl XIII at Geico Stadium, a miniature set built for the TV show.
According to an Animal Planet press release, Puppy Bowl XIII kicked off at Geico Stadium with a special appearance by weather forecaster Mr. Punxsutawney Phil. The famous groundhog and two of his inner circle officiated the coin toss to start the game. This year’s Pedigree Starting Lineup boasted 39 puppies who also competed for the individual Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by Petco. This year’s Bissell MVP was Team Fluff’s Rory, a 17-week-old male poodle mix from Little Dog Rescue in Florida.
For the sixth year in a row, America’s favorite “ Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, returned to call the puppy penalties, furry fumbles and terrier touchdowns.Award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport introduced the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments that highlight some of the heartwarming stories of the adorable athletes.
For Puppy Bowl XIII, Animal Planet worked with 34 different animal shelters and rescue organizations from across 22 states to fill the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff with 78 adoptable players for this puppy pile-up. This year, the Bowl also featured three pups with special needs: Doobert (deaf), Lucky (three-legged) and Winston (hearing-and-sight impaired). One special player is drafted to play in Puppy Bowl XIII by celebrity dog Chunk Handler. Plus, viewers got to see the canines conduct their pre-game rituals when the cameras were allowed in the locker room.
While the puppies broke for a cat nap, the Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Kitty Half-Time Show got underway with a performance by the feline musical group Chicago Rock Cats with Kitty Gaga singing “Puparazzi ” to her little monsters of adoptable rescue kittens.
The puppy teams added rescue mascots to their cheering section. Team Ruff gained the watchful eye of Orlando the Screech Owl, and Team Fluff recruited Muffin the Chinchilla who adds another layer of fluff. Getting the fans excited on the sidelines are rescue rabb its and guinea pig cheerleaders who hop into action. “Meep the Bird” got a ma keover and returned as a rescue African Gray Parrot. Meep talked sports with Geico The Gecko and live tweeted updates throughout the big game.
Plus, Puppy Bowl fans got a glimpse of celebrity dogs Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Chloe Kardoggian, Ella Bean, Marnie the Dog, Manny the Frenchie, Mervin the Chihuahua, Sometimes Carl and Toast Meets World with her siblings Muppets Revenge and Underpants the Dog who watched the biggest game of the year from the stands. As always, fans witnessed Puppy Bow’s water bowl cam, slow-motion playback cam and fan-favorite Dairy Queen kiss cam. Viewers won’t miss a minute of excitement with aerial shots of the field from the Sheba Sky Box, and Surge the Hamster was back on his wheel powering the Puppy Bowl score board.
Puppy Bowl Virtual Reality, sponsored by Pedigree, gave viewers a pup’s eye view of the action on the Geico grid iron through the eyes of Buttons, one of this year’s Puppy Bowl XIII players. Not letting her diminutive size hold her back when tackling opponents in a scrimmage spanning two video halves, Buttons played her way through the piles of puppies, chew toys and assistant coaches to score a winning touchdown.
On game day, puppy supporters were invited to vote in the Most Valuable Puppy poll . Viewer votes determined which heavenly hound gets barking rights and the title of Bissell MVP, which will be revealed at the end of the broadcast. Before and during the action, keep an eye out for guest takeovers on Animal Planet Instagram and Snapchat. This year’s roster includes players from AHeinz57 (Iowa), Big Fluffy Dog Rescue (Tennessee), Citizens for Animal Protection (Texas), Last Hope K 9 (Massachusetts), Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Florida), Mr. Bones & Company (New York), Nevada SPCA, Paw Works (California), Stray Rescue (Missouri), among others.
The ASPCA in New York provided adoptable kittens for the Kitty Half-Time Show; the cheerleading rescue rabbits and guinea pigs are from Luv-N- Bunns (Philadelphia) and Helping All Little Things (New Jersey). The chinchilla mascots were provided by Chin Friends Chinchilla Rescue (New York) and the owl flew in from Volunteers for Wildlife (Long Island). The African parrot was provided by Phoenix Landing rescue (Washington, DC).
(All photos courtesy of Animal Planet)