(NewsNation Now/WFXR) — The paws of more than 100 dogs — including several from Virginia — will storm the field Sunday as teams Fluff and Ruff go head-to-head at Puppy Bowl XVIII.
Hosted by Martha Stuart and the aptly named Snoop Dogg, Puppy Bowl XVII will air at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 13 on Animal Planet and stream on Discovery+.
The rough-and-tumble game is essentially a three-hour broadcast of puppies romping on a miniature football field and occasionally taking naps. But it’s also a platform to showcase adoptable animals and highlight the local shelters that care for them.
Puppy Bowl XVIII will feature adoptable dogs from 67 shelters across 13 states. The beach-party-themed Kitty Half-Time Show will also highlight the players’ adoptable feline counterparts, “performing” to a set from DJ Master Scratch.
The starting lineup for this year’s match includes the following players:
- Moby (Team Ruff) — A French bulldog from Pennsylvania with an intimidating stare that gives him an edge over his opponents
- Birch (Team Fluff) — A chihuahua/toy fox terrier mix from Louisiana with big ambitions and a matching set of ears who is slated to be the smallest player on the field
- Benny (Team Fluff) — This poodle from Georgia only has two working legs, but a slick set of wheels to help him navigate the field makes him a worthy contender
- Ridley (Team Ruff) — A hearing- and vision-impaired border collie from Virginia with a black-spotted, fluffy white coat and a can-do attitude
Ridley is one of four pups from the Virginia-based nonprofit Green Dogs Unleashed, joining Glaze, Pongo, and Bunny
Team Ruff also features a dog named Odin, who was adopted from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue in Tennessee by a Roanoke family.
Meanwhile, the results of the so-called Pupularity Playoffs will be announced on Friday, Feb. 11. It’s currently in the fourth round of voting between Ted D. Bear, a Florida goldendoodle on Team Ruff, and Benny, a Georgia poodle on Team Fluff.
The game’s concept began as a joke, according to Rolling Stone, but it’s since become a Super Bowl tradition. Last year, The Wrap reported that the Puppy Bowl garnered 2.1 million viewers.
Now, 17 years after the event’s debut, this year’s event will make its own history as the the first of its kind to include a release of 23 related NFTs, or “nonfungible token,” a form of digital ledger that can be sold and traded..
Each Puppy Bowl NFT design features a fun, visual tribute to Puppy Bowl and the spirit of the big game.
Information about the players and the local shelters from which they can be adopted is available online.