It looks like there will be a roster shake-up in this year’s “Puppy Bowl XIV.” The adorable foster dogs on Team Fluff and Team Ruff will be joined by a sloth named Shirley in this year’s event.
Well, technically, Shirley won’t be participating. She’s more of a sideline sloth, helping host Dan Schachner officiate (or shall we say “rufferee”) the Puppy Bowl, which airs on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. EST and noon PST. (The game is actually filmed in October, though!)
In a video introducing Shirley, the lethargic sloth hung upside down from a branch and seemed rather disinterested in what Schachner had to say as he explained the game’s rules to her. (Really, there’s not many rules: Stop the pups if they start bathing in the bowls of water, don’t be over-zealous when it comes to calling odor penalties and be clear on what the “end zone” is to prevent too much posterior sniffing.)
“It’s only the Puppy Bowl, the greatest spot ever,” Schachner told the sloth, an animal known for its super-slow movements and hanging upside down from trees in the rainforest. “Frankly, I need the help. I don’t have enough poop bags to handle everything.”
As for pay, Shirley the Sloth will be compensated in grapes.
For those who have never experienced the unbridled joy of the Puppy Bowl, it is Animal Planet’s beloved alternative to the Super Bowl for those who would rather watch adopted dogs romp around a miniature stadium. Although, really, dog lovers and football lovers can catch both games because Super Bowl LII doesn’t start until 6:30 p.m. EST/3:30 PST.
“We’ve got special needs dogs, we’ve got dogs from areas that have been affected by natural disasters, so a really incredible roster this year,” Schachner, in a pre-game interview, told People. Dogs this year will come from Houston, Puerto Rico and Florida, all of which were devastated by hurricanes.
In all, 90 dogs from 48 shelters will be participating, Schachner told USA Today. You can check out the 39 dogs in starting line-up, which includes a Pug named Carlo from Miami on Team Ruff and a Dalmatian named Chance from Virginia, who also happens to be deaf and is representing Team Fluff.
With players this cute, who cares about a score? And each year, all the dogs who play in the Puppy Bowl end up getting adopted, which is a big win in our book!