This seasons Dog Dish Bissell "Most Useful Puppy" award goes to the most brave dog on the field: Marta, a Schnauzer/Beagle mix, from the adopting company AHeinz57 Pet Save & Transportation. She out-hustled and out-muscled pets twice her dimension to take the MVP headline.
"Marta's small, but she is not sensitive, and she is stealthily fitness, which type of deceived the larger pets," says Daniel Schachner, who served as "The Ref" on the area. It was his job to contact puppy charges such as crying, unlawful sleeping ("That was a big one this year") and extreme cuteness ("when the burly cameramen quit what they're doing to say 'awww,' that's when you know").
Here are some features from the experience, and information about the display from Schachner:
-- It's not just adorable puppies on display. Hedgehog cheerleaders pump the crowd up with pom-pons, and high above the stadium, intrepid hamster pilots will give a "hamster's eye view" in the blimp. And Meep the bird tweeted live throughout the game, literally.
-- After the puppies get an introduction, they're off! Who's in the starting lineup? Highlights include a 12-week old dachshund mix named Harry and his soulmate, 12-week old sachshund-basset mix, Sally. Can't forget siblings Simba and Nala!
-- It's a tug-of-war! Puppies Fitz and Nala fight for a toy until Fitz falls into the "hydration station." Meanwhile, dachshund Harry and Sally tussle on the field. The two-hour show features puppy love and fights, but no excessive "ruffness."
-- Shelters see a big spike in adoptions surrounding the Puppy Bowl. Sixty-three puppies participated this year from shelters around the country. In the past, all have been adopted, and this year is no exception. "These puppies get scooped up quickly. We've teamed up with petfinder.com that will match viewers to puppies in their area," says Schachner.
-- Daisy and Peyton nuzzle the camera and "The Ref" steps in! "No no no, excessive cuteness, you two! And you know it. Ten-yard penalty. You know what? Fifteen-yard penalty. It's that cute."
-- Tough gig! To audition for the role of "The Ref," Schachner, 38, sent in a tape of him in New York City "staging mini games in parks with people's dogs. I got some looks, but I guess it worked!"
-- Sally speeds past Simba and Nala from her own 30-yard line for Puppy Bowl IX's first touchdown! The hedgehog cheerleaders go wild! Meep the bird tweets, obviously. Then Unity and Agatha score!
-- It's time for the Puppy Bowl Kiss Cam, featuring home videos of puppy pets being kissed. And you can't forget about the slow-motion Fluff Cam for recaps.
-- Behind the scenes, "You're not seeing all of the volunteers and handlers who have come out just because they want to help out with Puppy Bowl and be a part of a good cause," says Schachner.
-- While the big pups are getting personal fouls for unnecessary "ruffness," future MVP Marta hatches her plan and backs into the end zone for a touchdown! The hedgehogs go wild. The other dogs shower her with kisses.