Let’s get ready to cuddle!
Puppy Bowl 2021 kicks off Sunday ahead of this year’s (likely) snoozer of a human Super Bowl 2021. Tom Brady, Gronk, Antonio Brown? Who are they even? The real players to watch this year are Aaron Pawdgers, George Kibble, a two-legged pooch named Jett and the many other adorable faces of this year’s puppy players.
The big game, now in its 17th year, is dedicated to inspiring and adoptable dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds and personalities. Speaking of dogs, Snoop Dogg and his best pal Martha Stewart will be hosting this year.
The event will see teams Ruff and Fluff go paw-to-paw in a fur-filled melee for the “Lombarky” trophy. Last year, it was Team Fluff, making Team Ruff the real underdogs this year.
The big game will be led by ESPN’s Monday Night Football announcer Steve Levy and SportsCenter host Sage Steele, with help from animal advocates Kristen Bell, Valerie Bertinelli and Food Network star Duff Goldman. “Rufferee” Dan Schachner will be joining the game for the 10th year in a row. Plus, a crew of cuddly kitties will entertain viewers with paw-some performances.
Before that, a pregame show featuring fans’ favorite sports correspondents, Rodt Weiler, James Hound, Sheena Inu and field reporters Brittany Spaniel and Herman Shepard, will share Puppy Bowl insights that only a dog could deliver.
The ulti-“mutt” pregame show airs at 1 p.m. EST/10 a.m. PST, but the real “ruff” housing begins at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST on Sunday, Feb. 7. Fur-tunately there are two ways to watch — on the Discovery+ app and the Animal Planet network.
Here are some of the standout good boys and girls, plus the rest of the pack, in the starting lineup of Puppy Bowl 2021.
This treeing walker coonhound/American Staffordshire terrier mix from Last Chance Animal Rescue will hopefully live up to his name.
You can tell just by looking at her: This American Staffordshire terrier/Australian terrier mix from Danbury Animal Welfare Society is in it to win it.
What wonder is a Bananaberry? In this case, it’s an Australian cattle dog/golden retriever from Operation Paws for Homes.
Chunky Monkey, a chow chow/Irish red and white setter mix has built-in padding, perfect for a game-winning tackle. The Chunk comes from Green Dogs Unleashed.
And she’s a whole lotta dog! This Russell terrier/bichon frisé from the Sato Project looks quick as a fox.
Meet Jett, a double front amputee Labrador mix from Pets With Disabilities in Maryland, who is prepping for the big game with regular jaunts along the countryside with his fellow special needs cat and dog companions.
Another one of the special needs pooches in the game, this Boston terrier from Green Dogs Unleashed is training to be a therapy dog, where at a local hospital, he will provide a group of COVID emergency room nurses with a much-needed mental break in the midst of the pandemic.
This Foster Dogs Inc. Norwegian elkhound got his first ever grooming from Harlem Doggie Day Spa in advance of the big game.
Here’s the rest of Team Fluff’s lineup
You just know this Belgian Malinois/American Staffordshire terrier from Rescue Dogs Rock is bringing his A-game.
This Australian cattle dog from Charlie’s Crusaders Pet Rescue loves the feeling of wind in his ears.
Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose. This Siberian Husky/Shar-Pei from MatchDog Rescue has a vision for winning.
This American Staffordshire terrier/beagle may look sleepy but… they give awards for that too at the Puppy Bowl.
Gus may be just a little guy, but this beagle/cocker spaniel from Danbury Animal Welfare Society brings a big swagger to his game.
This beagle/bluetick coonhound looks like she’s about to pull a fast one. Watch out!
This hairless terrier from Dog Star Rescue passes the vibe check.