Last year's Super Bowl brought in an audience of 111 million viewers. Sound impressive? Not when you consider the world population just passed 7 billion. So what are the other $6.9 billion people watching? The Puppy Bowl, naturally!
For the last eight years, Animal Planet has been counter-programming the biggest football game of the year with the cutest football game of the year. If you've not seen it, the premise is simple: Build a miniature stadium and fill it with puppies and chew-toys. Turn on the cameras and watch a panoply of adorbs unfold. Outside the finale of Twin Peaks, it's quite possibly the most bizarre moment on broadcast television that you will ever see.
But half of the fun of a Super Bowl party — or any football party — is the tailgating experience. (Nope. NOT making a TAILgating joke. Nuh-uh.) You know, the food, the fun, the zaniness? But how, exactly, does one tailgate for the Puppy Bowl? Let's find out together:
There is always one weirdo who shows up for a football game in a clown wig and/or face and/or body paint. Why should your pets be exempt from all the dress-up hilarity that many sports seem to equate with cheering on their team? We won't suggest painting your dog, as it'll probably be a nightmare to clean out of its fur, but costumes are less messy and equally as fun. In fact, this Cheerleader Dog Costume (from $5.50 with free shipping, a low by $4) is also harmless on your wallet.
If you want your dog to exude a "tougher" image, this Anit Accessories Football Uniform ($12.67 with free shipping via Prime, a low by $9) might be more like what you're after. Though, after staring at it for a while, we're not sure dressing up your dog in any costume will make the poor thing look any tougher.
You can also choose to break gender stereotypes and dress your male dog as the cheerleader and a female dog as the football player. You'll not only be enjoying the game, but striking a blow for feminism and equal rights ... for dogs!
How you might not want to dress up your dog is in this Anit Accesories Football Costume ($25.99 with free shipping, a low by $4), especially if there are real football fans around — ones who have been drinking and enjoying the Super Bowl. A rush of excitement might see little Spot get accidentally punted into the neighbor's yard.
Serve all your human Super Bowl food in dog bowls to add an extra level of "doggy-ness" to the day. What? You say that's gross?! How is that gross? You make your dog eat — and drink — from one every day of the year! The least you could do is comisserate this one time!
But what will you be serving? Well, comisserating on serving dishes is one thing, but you can't just start grilling up real hot dogs and sausages for your pets; they'll get notions above their station. Feed them a hotdog straight from the grill once, and the next thing you know, they'll be begging for food directly from your dinner table ... then answering the phone and pretending they're you ... maybe even dressing up in your clothes and hitting on your wife. No! But you can treat them; for a tailgating party, we suggest you stock up on foods that almost, but not quite, resemble tailgating fare.
Might we suggest you pick up a mess 'o Snausages Beef & Cheese Flavor Dog Treats 12-oz. Bag ($2.99 with $4.99 s&h, a low by $1), pictured, or these Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Treats 4-Pack ($15.86 with free shipping via Subscribe & Save, a low by $2)? Those should be "close enough for jazz" — especially if "Jazz" is the name of your pooch.
As for drinks, instead of a margarita (don't deny it, we've seen you sports-types tote along a battery-powered and/or car-adaptered margarita machine to the game), get your pup some Mr. Barksmith's Cool Treats Smoothies ($9.79 with free shipping, a low by $2). Yes: DOG SMOOTHIES. Just don't "spike" these ludicrous treats with tequila, unless you want a) PETA comming down on you like a ton of bricks or, more likely, b) a dead pet. Harsh realities.
Oh, one last thing: Just take our word that they do not taste anything like the real things, ok?
We're told that during a real tailgate party, folks usually bring a football or frisbee to toss around. The revelers get to throw the 'ole pigskin amongst themselves and pretend that they are [insert famous player's name here]. We'll bet that your dog would also like to mess around with a football-shaped object before the Puppy Bowl, pretending they are [insert name of famous dog football player here]. Of course, instead of catching it and spiking it to the ground and doing a silly dance, your dog will catch it, throttle it a bit, possibly mangle it, then either drop it yards away from you forcing you to go get it so you can repeat the process; or Spot will bring it back to you but refuse to hand it over, causing a tug-of war, resulting in a ruined football and drool everywhere. (Man, why do we like dogs? They sound like such jerks!)
So we'd recommend just getting the cheapest football-shaped object you can, like this Westminster Pet 20037 Vinyl Dog Toy ($2.93 with free shipping, a low by $1). Sure it looks more like a Katamari head than a sports implement, but due to the reasons outlined above, it doesn't matter. Also, dogs
are color blind, so they won't know if it's yellow, orange, or whatnot. (Ed. Note: Turns out, dogs aren't colorblind afterall, they're just really bad at coordinating interior decoration, and that's what led to this common misconception.)
Lastly, you'll want to make sure that you have a second TV, so you can tune in to the "real" ball game that's on at the same time. Switch back and forth? Right! You just try and take the remote away from your 80-lb. pitbull who's way into the game!