96 Puppies from 61 Shelters Storm the Gridiron in 16th Annual Game.

Discovery Animal Planet reports –
ANIMAL PLANET’S PUPPY BOWL RETURNS FOR A SPECIAL SWEET SIXTEEN MATCH UP BETWEEN TEAM RUFF AND TEAM FLUFF ON SUNDAY, FEB. 2.

The pup players are back and ready for non-stop all football action for PUPPY BOWL XVI! Television’s cutest sports competition and original TV adoption event, PUPPY BOWL, returns to Animal Planet Sunday, Feb. 2 at 3PM ET/12PM PT. This year’s adoptable puppy players who make up the rosters of #TeamRuff and #TeamFluff celebrate a ‘Sweet 16’ extravaganza and dig deep and play hard to win the inaugural CHEWY “Lombarky” trophy at GEICO stadium.

To celebrate 16 years of incredible adoption stories and tail wagging touchdowns, PUPPY BOWL XVI unleashes more puppy players than ever before in all-new new team colors – from yellow and green to ‘Bark Blue’ and ‘Tail Mary Tangerine’. Tune in for this special two-hour event to experience sloppy kisses, puppy piles & penalties, epic puppy playtime, and more. Animal Planet audiences will also see the return of The Dog Bowl, the one-hour competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters. In past years, 100% of the puppies and kittens that have participated in PUPPY BOWL have been adopted to loving families. And after sixteen years of this incredible tradition, this year’s set of adoptable animals all end up winners when they touchdown on the field and, finally, into their forever homes.

The tail-gating starts with the PUPPY BOWL Pre-Game Show at 2 PM/ET and 11 AM/PT, featuring fan favorite aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports correspondents, including the one and only Rodt Weiler, James Hound, and Sheena Inu serving as pre-game show analysts. This year, Animal Planet worked with 61 dedicated animal shelters and rescue organizations representing over 25 states, filling the TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF roster with over 96 adoptable puppies, making this the biggest and most epic game in PUPPY BOWL history!

While many of the PUPPY BOWL XVI pup players have come from shelters and rescues across the U.S., this year’s PUPPY BOWL has more international puppies than ever before with players representing Cartagena, Colombia, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Toronto. With the help of testing conducted by WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA test kits, all the puppy athletes go beyond fur-deep to find out what they’re really made of and discover what skills are engrained as a result of their ancestry, and what advantages they can use on the field.

As always, Animal Planet audiences will enjoy their favorite PUPPY BOWL elements featuring slow motion replays, nose to nose action from the iconic water bowl cam and the fan favorite PEDIGREE® puppy kiss cam. Viewers will also get an up-close look at the pre-game rituals of these special pups via the Locker Room Cam, where we’ll see the new PUPPY BOWL locker room featuring the new team colors! And this year, we’ll also see a brand-new HOME DEPOT training room space for the pup players to prep ahead of the big game!  Fans won’t miss a moment of excitement with a front row seat view of the touchdowns through the cameras in the CHEWY end zone pylons, in addition to aerial shots of the field through the TEMPTATIONS™ Sky Box, and the official Puppy Bowl Blimp. And once again, Surge the hamster takes the wheel to power the PUPPY BOWL scoreboard.

This year’s PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup presents puppies who are also going paw to paw to compete for the individual BISSELL® MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) by scoring the most touchdowns with dog-approved toys by CHEWY. Returning to the field for his ninth year as America’s favorite “Rufferee,” Dan Schachner, along with award-winning animal advocate and television correspondent Jill Rappaport, who introduces the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. Pup Close and Personal segments that allow viewers to dive deeper into some of the heartwarming stories of these adorable athletes.

This year’s Pup Close and Personal profiles include actress, comedian and animal rescue advocate Whitney Cummings who has teamed up with Love Leo Rescue in Los Angles and picked Jack, a Chihuahua mix for game day; Lucca, a Chihuahua / Miniature Pinscher mix from Texas Chihuahua Rescue picked by Jonathan and Drew Scott of HGTV’s series ‘Property Brothers: Forever Home’ who are not only helping clients make the best of their home but making their dreams come true by adding a forever friend to their family; and Sol, a Chihuahua / Border Collie mix who made the brave journey back to the U.S to play in the big game with our very own Dog Bowl host, Jill Rappaport, who teamed up with Colombian-based rescue Cartagena Paws, an organization that relies heavily on volunteer flight companions to send them to homes in the US. Other in-depth profiles include Filbert, a deaf and sight impaired Shetland Sheepdog mix from Double J Dog Ranch, a sanctuary for dogs with special needs; a special trip to the beaches of St. Croix with Cruzan Cowgirls, a rescue focused on rehabilitating rescue horses where we’ll also meet PUPPY BOWL player Rummy, a Chihuahua mix; Aspen, an Australian Cattle Dog / American Staffordshire Terrier mix from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue in Colorado who will put his paws on a hiking trail for the first time with Instagram famous hiking rescue dog, Finn and his human, Henry Friedman; and Maverick, a Dachshund / Pekingese mix from  Virginia Beach SPCA who not only found his forever family but also a forever doggie home when the Norfolk Botanical Garden put on their ‘Barkitecture’ event.

PUPPY BOWL XVI will also feature five special needs players that are looking forward to finding their forever home; including Ferris, a three-legged Labrador Retriever mix; two hearing impaired pups – Kismet, a Great Dane, and Paprika, a Chihuahua mix; Filbert, a blind and hearing impaired Shetland Sheepdog mix; and Rooster, an American Staffordshire Terrier /Bulldog mix with a cleft palate. These fuzzballs won’t let anything deter them from playing hard and finding a loving family! As always, viewers are ready for a cuteness overload from the official PUPPY BOWL XVI cheerleaders, a trio energetic baby pygmy goat and a trio of playful armadillos, who root for their favorite team while shaking their pom poms on the sidelines! The first half of PUPPY BOWL XVI is sponsored by SCOOB! from Warner Bros. Pictures.

Halfway through the game, the energy will be amped up for the ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™ KITTY HALF-TIME SHOW. There’s no other way to celebrate 16 years of animal adoptions than with an unforgettable performance by legendary divas Jenni-PURR Lopez & CAT-ira, who will arrive to the GEICO stadium in a decked-out limousine to give Animal Planet audiences a special rendition of ‘Catnips Don’t Lie!’ At the end of the performance, viewers will even be able to see an adoption update on where these talented & sassy felines found their forever homes.

PUPPY BOWL fans will have the chance to watch an early premiere of the PUPPY BOWL XVI Pregame Show on Jan. 26 on Animal Planet GO. Broadcast of the event will also be available on GO in conjunction with the 3:00pm ET/ 12:00pm PT start time and unlocked at 5:00pm ET/ 3:00pm PT. Viewers will also be able to  celebrate the incredible people who put animals before themselves in our new mid-form series “Road to Puppy Bowl,” launching on Jan. 2. Additionally, for the first time ever, viewers can tune-in to the GEICO Puppy Bowl Draft, to get an early look and the top picks for TEAM RUFF and TEAM FLUFF. Crowds can flock to the Animal Planet and PUPPY BOWL Facebook pages while also following the action to players in real time on Animal Planet’s Twitter and Instagram feeds.

PUPPY BOWL digital audiences can point their paws to AnimalPlanet.com/PuppyBowl to view the roster of adorable puppies in the PEDIGREE® Starting Lineup. Viewers can additionally head to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for original social content including the PUPPY BOWL pygmy goat cheerleaders getting “pumped up” before the big game, discover what our Kitten Halftime kittens really do in their downtime in a MEOW wrestling match and a Billiards competition, and a special interview with Instagram sensation @TheDogist.

Animal Planet audiences can also check out a live puppy playtime warm-up on Animal Planet’s YouTube channel in the lead up to PUPPY BOWL XVI. Plus, you can get puppy and dog training tips from the official PUPPY BOWL behind-the-scenes trainer and get inspired by a new year’s bucket list! Additionally, when Animal Planet viewers post a pic of their own animal watching PUPPY BOWL XVI, they may be featured on Animal Planet’s Instagram story during the game! A fan favorite feature this year is the PEDIGREE® PUPPY BOWL Trading Cards where you can upload a photo of your pet, pick from specialized team frames, and add creative stats including “Favorite TV Show,” “Naughtiest Habit,” and more. In addition to this, everyday leading up to the big game fans can enter a Sweeps to win a $1,000 prize that Animal Planet will donate to an animal shelter of their choice, along with an Animal Planet swag bag for themselves! Digital audiences are also invited to vote on Twitter, in real time, for the winner of the Most Valuable Puppy award at twitter.com/animalplanet and results will be revealed during the epic program.

Official PUPPY BOWL XVI sponsors include ARM & HAMMER™ Clump & Seal™, BISSELL®, CHEWY, GEICO, PEDIGREE®, THE HOME DEPOT, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC., TEMPTATIONS™, WARNER BROS. PICTURES, and WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA test kits.

For the third year in a row, Animal Planet’s canine competition, Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl returns for a one-hour paw-tastic football competition for adult and senior dogs living in rescues and shelters, hosted by award-winning animal advocate Jill Rappaport. This year the fan favorite game features more dogs than ever before (65), bringing both experience and charisma with them to the gridiron! While these loving dogs may have a few years under their collars and they’re frequently overlooked for puppies, Dog Bowl audiences will see the amazing spirit and love these players can bring to any loving family. Similar to PUPPY BOWL, The Dog Bowl works in tandem with shelter and rescue partners (32) to create two amazing team rosters – Team Goldies and Team Oldies – as they matchup for their own furry football competition to score touchdowns under the ALLSTATE® nets to win the CHEWY Lombarky trophy. To date, 100% of the dogs that have participated in The Dog Bowl have been adopted to loving families. Get ready to be schooled by these dapper canines who still have all the pep in their step on Sat., Feb. 1 at 8PM ET/PT.

This year’s starting lineup for Dog Bowl includes dogs who are also competing for the individual MILK-BONE® MVP (Most Valuable Pooch) Award which fans will be able to choose in a LIVE vote on Twitter during the game. In addition to this, for the very first time in Dog Bowl history, the bravest of these 65 silver-muzzled players will be awarded with the Super Senior Award! Furthermore, past Dog Bowl star players will be invited back for the very first ‘Dog Bowl Hall of Fame’ where viewers will get to see an update on where these debonair dogs ended up and the families that they were lucky enough to be inducted into. On the field, and in unison with the newly introduced PUPPY BOWL XVI team colors, Animal Planet audiences will also get a glimpse of the new and improved Dog Bowl team colors – light blue and orange – for these endearing adult dog participants. Similar to PUPPY BOWL, these pooches will also get a chance to find out what they’re made out of and if their experience is all they need on the field with the help of the WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA test kits.

Throughout the program, audiences will see the SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. “Dogs Life” features that shed light on a few of the amazing organizations and dogs as they prep for their road to Dog Bowl. We’ll see profiles on 13-year old Darius Brown visiting Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge as a part of his mission to help dogs dress to impress by creating bowties for rescue dogs and donating them to shelters to draw in adopters; Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, a rescue haven for super seniors in Mt. Juliet, TN which covers lifetime medical expenses for each dog while matching them with their forever homes; Tony award winner, Bill Berloni, who has trained rescue dogs on Broadway for years and who is currently working with his latest protégée, Little Ricky, a Chihuahua who is set to play ‘Bruiser’ in Legally Blonde: The Musical; and country music superstar, Emmylou Harris, who co-founded Crossroads Campus, a safe haven for adoptable dogs in Nashville, TN that also provides at-risk youth a chance to work directly with rescue dogs.  

Midway through the game, Dog Bowl audiences will see an unforgettable halftime show with Jill Rappaport reporting on amazing dog adoption stories from Connecticut’s Adopt-a-Dog’s fall Adopt-a-thon. This fun-filled festival for pets and people includes a ‘Wags to Riches’ grooming contest. Additionally, this year’s Dog Bowl features six special needs dogs including Bear (a blind and hearing impaired Australian Shepherd / American Staffordshire Terrier mix), Lulu (a hearing impaired Border Collie mix), Tia (a Labrador Retriever mix with three legs), Daisy (a Shih Tzu mix who wears prosthetics on her front legs), Lady Jane aka Janey (a Shih Tzu mix with limited vision and hearing impaired), and Mack (a blind Cocker Spaniel). These special dogs and more are all up to duke it out to win a touchdown and the hearts of viewers. Dog Bowl sponsors include ALLSTATE®, CHEWY, MILK-BONE®, SUBARU OF AMERICA, INC. and WISDOM PANEL™ canine DNA test kit.

For more information about the shelters, rescues and organizations that participated in PUPPY BOWL XVI, Animal Planet audiences can visit https://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/puppybowl/.