A Hero Named Fumble: Puppy Bowl Outshines Super Bowl


When I was a little girl, I thought the point of football was to see how many players could jump into one pile. Now, I’m almost an adult watching the Puppy Bowl, and I’m pretty sure the point is to see how many puppies can be cute at once. If I were to guess the rules of the Puppy Bowl, I would guess that they are:

1. Puppies are allowed to chew.

2. Puppies are allowed to bite.

3. Puppies are definitely allowed to smell each other’s butts.

4. If one of the puppies happens to pick up one of the stuffed chew toys and bring it to the end zone, that’s a touchdown.

If, for some illegitimate reason, you didn’t watch the Puppy Bowl, it’s a pun-filled (“pooch-perfect execution!” and “paw-satively perfect pooch-play!”) hour and a half featuring a super dedicated commentator, an out-of-work-actor or referee, and a ton of puppies. There is no method to the madness. There is only really great video editing. Somehow they managed to take puppies playing in a room and give it a vague narrative. The editors are the true winners here. (People who sat through the entire Puppy Bowl are the losers.)

That isn’t to say I didn’t take the Puppy Bowl VIII seriously as a sporting event. At first I thought, why would somebody name their puppy “Fumble” if they knew that said puppy would be training to be in the ultimate canine athletic event? But, as I watched that adorable pooch score two touchdowns in the first half alone, I realized: it was a double bluff. Fumble’s owners had been preparing him for this moment since birth. They trained him to work against fate. If he could beat fate, he could surely become the Puppy Bowl MVP. He did,and it was beautiful. (By the way, an additional F*ck off to anybody who thought Aberdeen should have won the Puppy Bowl MVP.)

This was my first time watching the Puppy Bowl, and honestly, it reminded me of the Super Bowl a lot more than it should have. There was a pretty explicit (sometimes inter-species) Kiss Cam, promotional appearances (by the dog-stars of the ten-thousandth “Air Bud” spin off, “Treasure Buddies”), needlessly complicated camera angles, and even a few controversial referee calls. My only slight against the Puppy Bowl, is that the Kitty Half-Time Show was way better. Maybe I’m a cat person or maybe I just have good taste, but those cats really impressed me. I’ve seen some great halftime shows in my life, and I’ve seen Chaka Kahn do the halftime show at a WNBA game; I have high standards. They were way better than Madonna.

For next year’s Puppy Bowl, I have one suggestion: bring in a live audience, and make sure I have a front row seat.



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