On Feb. 12, 2023, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will face off in Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl LVII.
But, did you know there is another big game that same Sunday?
The 19th annual Puppy Bowl will be airing on Animal Planet, where Team Ruff and Team Fluff will face off for the Lombarky Trophy. More than 120 dogs are on the roster in this year’s game and come from all over the country.
Ahead of the big game, people online wondered if the Puppy Bowl was broadcast live. We went to some fur-miliar sources to find the answer.
Is the Puppy Bowl live?
- Animal Planet Puppy Bowl
- Rescue Dogs Rock, an animal rescue based in New York City
- Green Dogs Unleashed, an animal rescue based in Troy, Virginia
- Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado
- 2015 Reddit AMA from Puppy Bowl Referee Dan Schachner
No, the Puppy Bowl isn’t live.
WHAT WE FOUND
The Puppy Bowl show on Animal Planet is filmed months in advance and airs the same day as the Super Bowl. During the Puppy Bowl, shelter and adoption programs are showcased as puppies play in an arena made to resemble a football field.
VERIFY spoke to three different organizations participating in this year’s event – New York City’s Rescue Dogs Rock (RDR), Green Dogs Unleashed (GDU), in Troy, Virginia, and the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region (HSPPR), in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
HSPPR said they made the trip to New York City in October 2022 for Puppy Bowl filming with their two players, Sven and Vivianne.
This isn’t the first year the Puppy Bowl was pre-recorded months in advance. In 2015, Puppy Bowl Referee Dan Schachner hosted a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA) chat and talked about what it’s like being a ref for the show and gave a behind the scenes paw-spective. Schachner has been the Puppy Bowl ref for 12 years.
One Redditor asked: “How long does it take to film the Puppy Bowl and how far in advance is it filmed.”
Schachner wrote: “The Puppy Bowl is shot about 3 months in advance. A lot of people don't know this. The reason why it takes so much time is the Puppy Bowl broadcast is a 2 hour event, but it is not a 2 hour event to film - it takes 2 FULL DAYS to film. Reason being, we are trying to showcase as many different puppies as possible, and we want to rotate them in and out, and give them as many chances to have action on the field as possible!”
On Feb. 9, RDR posted a Facebook video of one of their pups participating in the Puppy Bowl, days before the Animal Planet air date. Mini was surrendered to RDR after losing one of her legs, but that wasn’t an obstacle for her on the field.
In a recent interview, Schachner said the participating puppies must be between three and six months of age. A GDU volunteer told VERIFY when they submit puppies for Puppy Bowl consideration – like entering the NFL draft – they choose puppies that meet the age requirements and also have the right temperament to go to the Puppy Bowl and get along with other dogs.
“We send puppy chaperones to filming who assist in ‘puppy-star-management,’” a GDU volunteer told VERIFY. “Taking care of their needs, making sure their bandanas are on straight, scheduling naps, keeping the puppies in tip top shape for the ‘big game’ and getting a chance for a close up with Referee Dan Schachner!”
GDU has five dogs participating in this year’s show. RDR has four dogs and HSPPR has two. Because the Puppy Bowl was filmed months ago, all of the dogs from each of those shelters have since been adopted.
In the 2015 Reddit AMA, Schachner said if someone watching the Puppy Bowl asks about any of the pups seen on-screen, Animal Planet connects that person with a shelter or rescue center – even if that particular pup has already found its fur-ever home. Historically, there has been a 100% adoption rate for all Puppy Bowl participants.
“So what we like to say is ‘Don't worry if the dog or cat you fell in love with is no longer available - because they are part of litters, and they will probably have brothers or sisters that you can adopt, even if that one star puppy isn't there,’” Schachner wrote.
So, we can VERIFY the Puppy Bowl isn’t a live show; it’s pre-recorded. But, it’s still pretty darn cute.