Puppy Bowl 17: What you need to know

PUPPY BOWL XVII. Image courtesy Animal Planet / Elias Weiss Friedman
PUPPY BOWL XVII. Image courtesy Animal Planet / Elias Weiss Friedman /

Puppy Bowl 17 is a week away, and so it’s time to dig into the details of the upcoming contest.

Puppy Bowl 17 (technically Puppy Bowl XVII) will air on Animal Planet on Sunday, February 7 at 2 p.m. ET, and for the first time, it will also be streaming live on Discovery Plus.

It is one of the biggest events of the year, leading into the Super Bowl through its adorable cuteness in a mockumentary-style football game telecast.

In last year’s contest, the game came down to the final play, with Team Fluff taking the 63-59 victory, avenging Team Ruff‘s 59-51 triumph in Puppy Bowl 15.

Overall, since adopting the team format with Puppy Bowl 11, Team Fluff has three victories (93-38 in Puppy Bowl 12, 52-47 in Puppy Bowl 13, and 63-59 in Puppy Bowl 16), while Team Ruff has wins in Puppy Bowl 11 with a 70-44 score and Puppy Bowl 15 by a 59-51 final.

Puppy Bowl 17 will be a bit different, but should be a fantastic contest yet again.

Instead of drawing from a nationwide pool of shelters, due to the pandemic only nine states are represented, but 22 shelters took part in the event, and as always, all pets involved were already adopted or are in the process of being adopted.

Other changes include filming location changing from a Manhattan studio to a hockey arena in upstate New York State to better promote social distancing, which will allow for some cool drone shots from the Temptations Skybox.

The field at the new GEICO Stadium will be much bigger, allowing for more room for the players to spread out.

Cameras will also be located within the Home Depot goalpost nets and the Chewy pylons to catch all the interesting action.

The contest will be officiated by Dan Schachner, who will be working as rufferee (referee) for the 10th time.

Analysis throughout the game will also come from Monday Night Football announcer Steve Levy and SportsCenter host Sage Steele, while the Puppy Bowl Pre-Game Show presented by Yellow Tail wine will feature the talents of familiar characters Rodt Weiler, James Hound, Sheena Inu, Brittany Spaniel and Herman Shepherd guiding us through this year’s storylines at 1 p.m. ET.

TV personality Jill Rappaport will be hosting the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments, as well as the new Senior Spotlight segments.

Pup Close and Personal segments into a profile of actress and animal advocate Kirsten Bell (Veronica Mars, Frozen, The Good Place), as well as TV personality Valerie Bertenelli.

For the first time ever, the cheerleaders on the sidelines will also be puppies, after previously having kittens, chicks, hedgehogs and other animals. Our feline friends also join in on the action with the Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Kitty Halftime Show, which will feature the talent of senior cat DJ Grand Master Scratch this year.

The puppies, both those who are part of the Pedigree Starting Lineups and the benchwarmers, will be vying for the Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) Award, while they also hope to lead their team to the Chewy Lombarky Trophy at game’s end.

Pets with special needs are always part of the game, with five deaf or hearing-impaired dogs participating in Marshall the Boston Terrier, Fletcher the Bulldog, Theodore the Great Pyreness/Border Collie and Rumor the Australian Cattle Dog mix.

Social media is well-covered with the event on the Animal Planet and Discovery Plus channels on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Exclusive behind-the-scenes content is also available on Discovery Plus, including NFL players talking about their pets.

Meep the Bird will be tweeting highlights throughout the 2021 Puppy Bowl, and fans can tweet for their MVP favorites throughout the matchup.

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For more information about the contest, see the Puppy Bowl website for more details.