Puppy Bowl 2014: Meet The Cute Contestants And Starting Lineup For Animal Planet’s Dog Super Bowl [PHOTOS]

  @nadinedeninnon.deninno@ibtimes.com on February 01 2014 2:22 PM

Puppy Bowl 2014 Meet the contestants and staring lineup for the 2014 Puppy Bowl X, the canine counterpart to the Super Bowl, which airs on Sunday, Feb. 2.  Facebook

The Super Bowl may be a yearly tradition for sports fans, but animal lovers look forward to the biggest day in canine competitions all year, too: The Puppy Bowl.

Animal Planet’s 2014 Puppy Bowl will air Sunday, Feb. 2 -- the same day as NFL’s Super Bowl, where the Denver Broncos will face the Seattle Seahawks watched by over 100 million. However, more than 12 million will watch the Puppy Bowl for the competition's 10-year anniversary, which airs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. (If you plan to tune in via livestream or on TV, here is the viewing info for the show, which will be repeated on television all night).

Puppy Bowl X will be the ultimate showdown of 66 puppies against each other in a game of “football” at the "Geico Stadium.” And, of course, there couldn’t be a Super Bowl without its referee Dan Schachner, fantasy puppy leagues and a half-time show. The pups will take a water-and-treat refuel break during the Bissell Kitty Half-time Show. YouTube’s famous “Keyboard Cat” will be performing a unique rendition of Bruno Mars’ hit single “Locked Out of Heaven” during the half-time performance. There will also be penguin cheerleaders to root for the puppies as they battle for the win and the title of Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy).

The annual alternative to the Super Bowl, now in its 10th year, was created by Animal Planet to make “counter-programming material” on Super Bowl Sunday. According to an article in Rolling Stone, one of the producers of the first-ever Puppy Bowl said: "It was always a joke: How do you counter the Super Bowl? Let's just put a box of puppies up there and call it a day. It's not worth trying to go against the Super Bowl."

"The next thing I hear," she said, "is we're really putting a box of puppies on the air."

The rest is history.

As always, all of the contestants in the Puppy Bowl come from shelters and rescue groups across the country and could be adopted. This year’s team comes from the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA in California, the Florida Little Dog Rescue, the Colorado Animal Welfare League, the Last Hope Animal Rescue in Iowa and the Scottsville Veterinary Hospital and Adoptions in New York. Animal Care & Control of NYC provided the kittens for the half-time show.

So who’s who in the Puppy Bowl? Here are the all-star players from the Pedigree Starting Lineup, all of which are adoptable! You can also check out the “back-up pups” and the “kitty stars” of Puppy Bowl X.

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