'Puppy Bowl' highlights cuteness, adoptions at Super Bowl

Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:39pm EST
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By Daniel Wallis

PHOENIX (Reuters) - As dozens of fans cheered, the players tussled over the ball as they neared the end-zone then began rolling around and biting each other on the neck, the chance of a touchdown forgotten.

While some NFL stars' off-field antics made headlines ahead of Sunday's Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, none are known to have chewed on each other.

But Thursday's "players" in downtown Phoenix were all puppies - part of a drive by the Animal Planet television channel and the Arizona Humane Society to encourage adoptions before the televised "Puppy Bowl" that will air on game day.

"Everybody loves a puppy. The amount of attention that we've got has been fantastic," Chris Finnegan, a senior vice president at Animal Planet, told Reuters on the sidelines.

"People just can't get enough. They're so sweet. They're so cute, and we're excited because it's getting the word out about animal adoptions."

Twenty-five pups are on display each day this week outside a Phoenix cafe where a fake football field has been set up and spectators gather to coo as the dogs cavort and gambol.

A black-and-white shirted "referee" kept a score, of sorts, and Team Fluff was soon beating Team Ruff by two goals to zip.

"That's a flag! That's unnecessary roughness, plus it's embarrassing because you're on the same side!" said the referee, blowing his whistle as onlookers laughed.   Continued...

Puppies tussle with a plush football at the "Puppy Bowl" in Phoenix, Arizona, January 29, 2015.  REUTERS/Daniel Wallis