There are 365 days in any given year, occasionally 366, but there is only one day every year that features the most wholesome alternative to a major sporting event in the world. While families across America are going to be lounging around their televisions around mountains of chicken wings and the cheesiest of pizzas watching the game, you should definitely remember to watch the 2019 Puppy Bowl before kickoff. So remember to start your Super Bowl party in time for some cute pupper action.
Animal Planet has been airing the Puppy Bowl since its inception, so if you have cable, you can likely find it on the channel, depending on your local listings. It starts at 3 p.m. ET, so you can either tune in live or remember to set your DVR and watch it after the game. It can be a good way to chill out post-game, especially if your team loses and you need a pick-me-up. A Puppy Bowl pre-game show starts at 11 a.m. ET, so you could theoretically watch this thing all day long.
Unfortunately, if you don't have cable, it might be a little harder to find the Puppy Bowl. Animal Planet isn't available on Sling Live, but it is included with Hulu Live, DirecTV NOW, PlayStation Vue or Philo. So if you use any of those services, you can tune in. It will also be available on AnimalPlanet.com to stream, but you'll need a cable authentication for that.
For those on a budget, you can also open an account with Hulu Live, Sling, or Direct TV Now and get a free trial. You'll have to use a credit card to open it up, but you can theoretically cancel the account before the first billing period if you can't afford the monthly expense. Then again, most of the services are pretty good deals for those without cable, so you might just find yourself sticking around. And then you won't have to worry about queuing up the Puppy Bowl next year, either.
According to Animal Planet, there are 93 puppies this year from 53 different shelters across the U.S., Costa Rica, and Puero Rico. Of those 93 puppies, 36 of them have special needs, making them a perfect adoption choice. Since its inception 15 years ago, the Puppy Bowl consists of Team Ruff and Team Fluff competing for the Lombarky Trophy and Most Valuable Puppy award. Basically, they just play with a ball in a specified area while "Rufferee" Dan Schachner makes calls, though there are no rules other than being cute — which really makes it the perfect game.
Schachner said in a 2015 Reddit AMA that the whole thing is taped over two days with 15 different cameras about three months ahead of game day, making it a much bigger job than it might seem to viewers. But the people behind the scenes love it. Puppy Bowl camera operator Cory Popp told A.V. Club in 2015, "It’s funny because I’ve worked on a lot of the stuff for Scripps Networks, and a lot of the people from the network don’t usually come out, but for Puppy Bowl, everyone comes out because it’s Puppy Bowl." He added:
So there’s this office of all the higher-ups from Animal Planet, because they’re all super stoked and it’s their favorite thing in the world, and so we’re wearing headsets and they have an open mic in that room and you can hear everyone in that room laughing and screaming and having the best time. And they’re all yelling out things for Dan to say that they’ve obviously been thinking about all year long. No one at Animal Planet ever stops thinking about Puppy Bowl.
Did you hear that? No one at Animal Planet ever stops thinking about the Puppy Bowl. And who could blame them really? Once you watch it for the first time, it's hard not to make it an annual tradition, whether you have cable or not.