By Alicia Powell
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fur will fly ahead of the Super Bowl on Sunday as 70 puppies compete in the 'Puppy Bowl' to encourage animal adoptions.
Teams 'Ruff' and 'Fluff' face off in the 16th annual event, with actor Dan Schachner acting as referee. The puppies chase soft toys and each other around a toy football field during the three-hour event.
Due to COVID-19, the National Football League's (NFL) championship game at the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hold only 22,000 spectators, a third of its capacity, when they play the Kansas City Chiefs. Likewise, the Puppy Bowl has adapted.
"We can't shoot the show in a studio in New York City. It's far too crowded. We couldn't have shelter reps from across the country fly puppies from across the country, we had to make sure they could drive to Puppy Bowl this year to keep everybody safe," said Erin Wanner, senior vice president of production for Animal Planet.
The Puppy Bowl was pre-recorded and the animals featured are normally all adopted before the Super Bowl. The show will stream on Discovery+ and air on Animal Planet on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET (1900 GMT).
(Reporting by Alicia Powell; Writing by Lisa Shumaker; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)