PUPPY BOWL XVII CR: Elias Weiss Friedman/Animal Planet

Stars: 5/5

After fifteen years, 'The Puppy Bowl' has grown into a phenomenon for families and animal lovers alike. Each year, 'The Puppy Bowl' freshens up its coverage of puppies playing football.

As an avid watcher since 2006, I can gladly say that the Puppy Bowl is one of the programs that hasn’t been ruined and commodified to oblivion. However, if I see one more commercial about getting Discovery+, I might scream.

'The Puppy Bowl' includes two teams of rescue puppies that are from all over the country. There are endless puns about tails and treats. Each year it gives forever homes to the puppies playing and kittens who performed for the Halftime Show. In between plays of puppies, there are montages of the puppies’ backstories.

This year’s hosts were Martha Stewart, who represented Team Ruff, and Snoop Dogg, who represented Team Fluff. The big event took place in the GEICO Puppy Bowl Stadium.

First Lady Jill Biden gave a quick message about adopting and wearing masks in between plays in the first half. She was joined by the Bidens’ two German Shepherds, Champ and Major. Major is the first sheltered puppy in the White House.

The girl group, Boy’s World, sang the National Anthem. The Bissell Kitty Halftime Show’s performer was DJ Grand Master Scratch.

'The Puppy Bowl' is ridiculously adorable. For three hours straight, you get to watch puppies play. But don’t let all the cuteness fool you, 'The Puppy Bowl' is serious business.

Puppies get penalties for “unnecessary ruffness,” sleeping on the field, biting off a piece of the goal post and soiling the field. The consequence is only five yards back.

There is also an MVP, “Most Valuable Puppy” award that audience members vote for. Marshall was named the Bissell Most Valuable Puppy of the game, winning audience members with two touchdowns back-to-back.

The Subaru’s Underdog Award went to Erica, a shy puppy on Team Fluff. It took her a while to get started in the game but eventually she warmed up.

The team with the highest score takes home the “Lombarky Trophy.” This year, Team Ruff won it with the final score being 69-73. 

One of the highlights of 'Puppy Bowl XVII' was Chucky Monkey’s nap in the first quarter, leading to a penalty. It was hands down the cutest moment of the whole game.

'The Puppy Bowl' allows for a diverse range of puppies from different shelters. One fan favorite was Jet, a two-legged black lab with his own front wheelchair, stole the show in the last quarter. Marshall, the MVP, had a hearing impairment.

Every puppy on the field had a day to play and be a puppy, instead of worrying about if they will be adopted. The event gave over 70 puppies from 22 shelters a new home and a day of play. Every dog wins at the end of the day.

"The Puppy Bowl" is perfect in its own way. There are competitors such as Hallmark’s "Kitten Bowl," but the "Puppy Bowl" is the blueprint. It’s nice to see it grow from a small stage of puppies playing into the most-watched event for Animal Planet.

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