Posted: January 22, 2015, 4:10 p.m. EST
It looks like just about anything will fly when Animal Planet hosts Puppy Bowl XI. What’s that, you ask? That’s 11 straight years of frolicking pups, plus kitties and other special animal guests, like @Meep the Bird tweeting sideline commentary in a football-themed spectacular hosted by Animal Planet. It all goes down February 1, 2015, which is not-so-coincidentally the same day as Super Bowl XLIX, the National Football League's (NFL) championship game.
© Courtesy of Animal Planet
Harley the Hamster will be supplying aerial coverage of the game from his biplane, sponsored by Twizzlers.
Frolicking puppies, check. Feisty felines, check. Gabby bird, check. Cheering goats, check. Flying hamster, check. Wait a second ... hamsters don’t fly! Well they do if you have one piloting a Twizzlers-sponsored biplane! A sneak-peak promo picture shows Harley the Hamster doing just that. He looks pretty chill in his miniature cockpit, which is especially impressive considering that he’s piloting a plane above a crowd of cats and dogs. In reality, Harley is actually Angel the hamster, and she’s from the Westchester Rescued Hamster Haven. Although she’s the only hamster piloting the biplane, last year several hamsters from the rescue participated and saved the day when there was a blackout!
This year, Team Ruff will take on Team Fluff — with a total of 55 pups taking to the field at Geico Stadium, which is essentially a miniature artificial turf football field filled with a bounty of dog toys. What sets Puppy Bowl XI apart from previous showdowns is that this year a game score will be kept and Bissel’s MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) will be crowned. The kitties, with headliner Katty Furry, courtesy of Puppy Bowl sponsor Bissel, are set to take over in a halftime show; again not coincidentally, similar to the main performer at Super Bowl XLIX’s halftime show featuring Katy Perry.
And, if a hamster bringing us aerial shots of the game and halftime entertainment wasn’t enough, you even have an opportunity to bring your furred friend into the game. Instagram photos of your pet with #PuppyBowl for a chance to see your pet on TV in real time — think "kiss cam jumbotron” but for your pet! If you share your home with a hammy, this might be the time to pick up a miniature football helmet from one of those coin-drop toy machines where the toys come in the plastic bubble for protection.
Puppy Bowl XI kicks off February 1, 2015, at 3 p.m. (ET) on Animal Planet and this really is a doggy marathon, as it repeats all day well into the night.
© Courtesy of Animal Planet
Meep the Bird is back to tweet updates from the sidelines.
But you don’t have to wait until then to get your puppy fix. You can view the puppy roster today by logging onto AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl and, for all you Fantasy Football fans, you can create your own team of pups with the Puppy Bowl Fantasy Game, which includes its own pregame show complete with game analyses and commentary by sports correspondents. You’ll also be able to track your team’s stats via a live online leaderboard and can vote on the most valuable pup. Not sure what pups to recruit for your team? You can scout them by watching the live Puppy Cam.
Puppy Bowl is serious business; last year an impressive 13.5 million viewers tuned their channels to this special Animal Planet event to make it cable TV’s No. 1 telecast. Better yet, all the pups and kitties featured are available for adoption.
True to its football theme, Puppy Bowl XI will also feature a "barking lot” tailgate party. I’m crossing my fingers that next year’s Puppy Bowl will have hamsters chowing down in a barking lot of their own, complete with miniature hamster-healthy hot dogs, burgers and hoagies and because, after seeing this cute little hamster eat, we all know hamsters know how to throw down the food!
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