Super Bowl LIII might have all the glory football can deliver, but does it have baby kangaroos as cheerleaders? How about a sloth referee, porcupine and capybara mascots, and a kitten halftime show?
No, they do not. But Puppy Bowl XV does, along with 93 puppies from 53 animal shelters across the United States, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.
Kick-off is 3 p.m. Sunday on the Animal Planet channel and while it serves up more sweetness per minute than a thousand napping babies can in two hours, the purpose of the Puppy Bowl — and its counterpart, the Kitten Bowl — is to highlight all the pets in shelters that need good homes. The animals filmed in the bowls are all available for adoption.
Puppy Bowl is more than just an hour-long show on Sunday. The celebration starts Saturday with “Puppy Bowl Presents: The Dog Bowl,” featuring adult shelter dogs. It airs at 8 p.m. on the Animal Planet, and the game will feature Team Goldies and Team Oldies, hosted by Jill Rappaport.
The Hallmark Channel will air the Cat Bowl at 7 p.m. Saturday, featuring older shelter cats, with play-by-play commentary from Alison Sweeney and Cameron Mathison.
The Puppy Bowl-centric programming on the Animal Planet starts at 6 a.m. Sunday with three episodes of “Too Cute!: For Puppy Bowl.”
“Puppy Bowl XV Presents: Training Camp Confidential” is set for 11 a.m. Sunday, followed by “Where Are They Now” at noon, a replay of “Puppy Bowl II” at 1 p.m., and the official pregame show at 2 p.m.
The teams this year are Team Ruff, which has a trio of adorable baby porcupines as its mascots, and Team Fluff, which has brought a capybara, the world’s largest rodent, to its sidelines. Two special-needs dogs — Bumble, a hearing-impaired dog, and Will, who has but three legs — will be featured. Both dogs are representing Team Fluff.
Dan Schachner is back for his eighth season as Puppy Bowl “ruffaree,” and he’ll be joined, slowly, by a sloth ref. And kangaroo joeys will join kittens in a halftime show that, without even trying, is likely to be better than the NFL’s version.
Hallmark Channel will air its 2-hour “Kitten Bowl” starting at 2 p.m. Sunday, with Rashad Jennings, Rodney Peete, Boomer Esiason, Dean Cain and Beth Stern hosting and calling the game.
Four California shelter dogs are playing in this year’s Puppy Bowl: Flo from the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, Scotch from Paw Works in Camarillo, Shy Boy from SPCALA in Los Angeles, and Violet from Vanderpump Dogs Foundation in Los Angles.
Pet lovers also can live stream the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet GO.
Puppy Bowl XV — All the cuteness you can handle