Puppy Bowl returns for 19th year on Super Bowl 2023: What to know

The Puppy Bowl will make its return on Sunday to entertain sports fans and animal lovers alike before the big game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

Puppy players who participate in the annual pre-game event are adoptable shelter dogs who have successfully found new homes through the televised program, which was started and still is hosted by Animal Planet.

Puppy Bowl Referee Dan Schachner told Fox News Digital that the Puppy Bowl XIX game that will be aired on Sunday, Feb. 12, will be the network’s 19th time highlighting adoptable animals.

“Every year, we’re proud to report we have a 100% adoption rate,” Schachner said during a video interview. “Every single one of our adoptable puppies finds a forever home by the time the Puppy Bowl is done airing.”

This year’s Puppy Bowl will have 122 players who represent 67 shelters from 34 states, according to Schachner.

“We’re trying to showcase as wide a variety from across the country as possible,” he said.

Eleven of the 122 puppies that’ll make an appearance during this year’s Puppy Bowl have been classified as dogs with special needs.

Puppy players who participate in the annual event held before the Super Bowl are adoptable shelter dogs.

Some of the puppies are hearing or vision impaired while others are missing left or have a cleft palate, according to Schachner.

“Don’t overlook those special needs dogs because [when you] watch them on Puppy Bowl, you could see them just hang out just as easily with any ‘able-bodied dogs,’” Schachner told Fox News Digital.

 “Just because they’re differently abled doesn’t mean that they should not be given a consideration for adoption. So, that’s a that’s a good message for today,” he added.

Profiles for each adoptable puppy and the shelter they come from will be on

A referee holding a dog.
Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner said that the event reaches 100% adoption rate every year while on air.

A puppy sitting.
Profiles for each adoptable puppy and the shelter they come from will be on

Schachner has been a referee for the Puppy Bowl for 12 years and he’s seen puppy participants get adopted on set during and after the game. Viewers also call in to request certain dogs that have captured their attention.

“It happens literally before our eyes,” Schachner said.

On the Puppy Bowl field, refereeing energetic puppies can apparently be a challenge even with Schachner’s dozen years of experience.

Dogs playing with toys.
“It’s going to be puppies being as wild and crazy and lovable as you would imagine they would be,” said referee Dan Schachner. 

“In puppy football, it’s new players, new rosters, new faces every single year,” Schachner explained, adding that the pups must be between three and six months of age. “They [also] have to be up for adoption, and they have to be untrained puppies. So, it’s going to be puppies being as wild and crazy and lovable as you would imagine they would be.” 

He continued, “You’re seeing them in their true element. They’re going to do all the things that puppies do.”

Schachner said that over the years, he’s gotten better at reading the field and what goes on around him while the program has grown.

Schachner is also aided by about 20 different camera angles that capture all the action.

“I can always go to the videotape if I need some extra help,” he said. 

New additions to the Puppy Bowl include a partnership with the dog DNA company Wisdom Panel, which has helped organizers create a “scouting report” based on breed traits, and celebrity kitten guests who can’t yet be announced but will be a “special surprise,” according to Schachner.

“In the pre-game show we’ll learn the scouting reports for these dogs we know we’ll get. I’ll be giving some predictions prior to the game who to look out for,” Schachner said.

The game will last three hours and will include the Kitty Halftime Show, plus the red carpet event, according to Schachner.

This article was originally posted by The New York Post.

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Written by New York Post

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