My Puppy Bowl coverage the last two years, while without question the best in all the Natmosphere, has been amateurish at best. A few poorly thought-out mentions at the bottom of posts whining about somebody who apparently called himself "Royce Clayton" was all it got in this quarter. Still, it wasn't without reason that I considered Distinguished Senators to be the internet's leading Puppy Bowl blog.
This year I planned to take it to the next level. That plan didn't last long, though, as my request for a press pass to the Puppy Bowl was turned down. It turns out that not only was the thing filmed weeks ago (which explains why there are already highlights up), but that the stadium doesn't even have a press box. So I figure, fine, at least I can score myself an exclusive interview with . . . I don't know, the Mayor of the Puppy Bowl or whatever. Or at least with one of those referees who has to clean up the puppy fouls using quality Bissell brand cleaning tools. But no, I was turned down again. Maybe it's because this is a baseball blog with the wrong name on it. Maybe it's because the front page, as it stands now, is about 40% me yelling at some dude on the internet.
Whatever the reason, I'm glad Animal Planet denied me insider access. I relish my outsider status, and I can't be compromised. I'm as big a Puppy Bowl fan as anyone, but I'm not afraid to use this forum to bring attention to the obviously destructive "Plan" Animal Planet is employing with this franchise. Some may call me negative, but as far as I'm concerned all those Puppy Bowl fanboys can save their blind adulation for the idiots at the Puppy Bowl Tailgate Party (to which I was not invited).
The Animal Planet front office is making it harder and harder to take the Puppy Bowl seriously as an athletic contest. The first year, it was all about the game itself. No interruptions, just puppies and soothing acoustic guitar music. Puppy Bowl II saw the focus shifted away from the athletes with the addition of a kitten halftime show. This year's installment moves further in the direction of frivolity; the halftime show is still there along with the previously mentioned Tailgate Party. They might as well have Scooter the talking baseball explaining what a puppy is.
A more serious issue is this: I hacked into Animal Planet's computers and discovered that they're allowing voting for the PBMVP days before the event has aired! This award just lost any credibility it ever had -- it might as well be the Gold Glove.
I also have issues with the participants. Look at Bess, a "13 week-old" competitor.
Puppy? Ha! Bess' breed is listed as "All American," but I'm thinking she's a Danny Almonte Pointer, if you get my drift. If AP is going to allow obvious ringers like Bess in the Stadium, why bother playing the game? A brave, intense puppy like Larry can match anyone in heart and determination, but the physical disadvantage is just too great.
Above: Viszla mix Larry shows the Eye of the Tiger
All these problems aside, there's still no greater event than the Puppy Bowl, even if you only watch it for the commercials. I'll be there with my beer hat and air horn cheering on Spencer, the Bowl's first ever Border Terrier.
I grew up with a Border and know firsthand their tenacity. They combine the terrier's inherent toughness and irritability with a long-legged athleticism that sets them apart from stumpy cousins. Border Terriers were bred to be able to go into holes and kill various smaller mammals while still being able to keep up with the horses carrying the effete Englishmen in their little red suits. That's a skill set that I think will translate well to the Puppy Bowl. Unless, of course, the powers that be have decided that a scrapper like Spencer isn't good enough for the ratings and hand the thing to Sonny, who looks like he came off a velvet painting.
Above: Spencer, well up on leg
Above: Spencer, well up on leg
Above: Sonny. Awwww.
The Puppy Bowl airs on Sunday, February 4, 3-6 p.m. ET with encore presentations at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET only on Animal Planet.