The Super Bowl is the virtually unchallenged hegemon of American television. It boasts popularity, marketing appeal, guaranteed violence and the potential for halftime nudity. It's untouchable, right? Not so fast.
Its challenger hails not from another cable network or prime time slot, but from a little known place called Animal Planet. Why yes, consumers of American media, I am talking about the Puppy Bowl.
Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl VII aired last Sunday at 3 p.m., almost – but not quite – infringing on Super Bowl XLV viewing time. The game featured an all-star lineup of puppies from shelters across the country joined by chicken cheerleaders, a kitty halftime show and a blimp full of hamsters.
As much as cold, hard fact contrasts the image of a warm, fluffy puppy, I am going to be blunt: The Puppy Bowl is better than the Super Bowl and it is not going to take advertisers and TV executives long to figure out that football can't even come close to this form of canine competition.
First of all, there is the cuteness factor. Puppies featured in the game were all clean, well-groomed and bright-eyed. They had adorable pink tongues and noses and they bounced around cheerfully throughout the competition. The football players featured Sunday night, however, were quite the opposite. They got sweaty easily, many of them were overweight, and they wore unflattering yellow spandex – a combination that should never be used together. As much as I love Troy Polamalu's flowing locks, the curly-haired pups in question were easily more attractive.
Second, the Puppy Bowl provides a much less violent alternative to the NFL showdown. Puppies play; football players punch each other in the face and collect concussions. Also, certain NFL superstars are notorious for engaging in questionable physical activities with females of questionable age who have given questionable consent in bar bathrooms. Have you ever heard of puppy-on-puppy assault? Me neither.
Additionally, the Puppy Bowl featured exceptionally attractive chicken cheerleaders. Neither the Steelers nor the Packers brought chicks of any kind to their game – where's the fun in that?
Finally, and most importantly, the Puppy Bowl served a purpose. Most of the animal shelter puppies in Sunday's starting lineup were adopted into families by the game's end. For all of the puppies not featured, Animal Planet encouraged individuals looking for doggie friends to check out their local shelters. The Super Bowl only resulted in a bunch of guys getting ugly rings and a few companies making a ton of money off ads that cost a ton of money to buy. Awesome.
The Puppy Bowl was adorable and to be honest, I'm a Steelers fan who ate way too much during the actual Super Bowl. Either way, stop YouTube-ing old commercials and go snuggle with something already!