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‘Puppy Bowl XII’: A Totally Necessary Gallery of Ridiculously Cute Baby Dogs

Go behind the scenes of America’s softer, cuter Super Bowl – where the players poop on the field and all is right with the world

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies; Cute

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

On February 7, millions of football fans – and presumably bored partygoers – will tune in to Super Bowl 50, the NFL's showcase of smashmouth skill and corporate synergy. The action on the field will be plentiful, and the commercial breaks bountiful, but if that's not enough to garner your attention, well, thankfully, there's the Puppy Bowl.

Once again, Animal Planet will be broadcasting the adorable antidote to all that aggression, and this year's contest – the 12th installment, for those keeping score at home – promises to be the greatest in the long and storied history of Puppy Bowl. Or at least the cutest. And that's what really counts.

How do we know? Because late last year, we were invited to the taping of Puppy Bowl XII in New York, and of course we brought our camera. Here's our behind-the-scenes look at this year's game, which is in no way an excuse just to post a bunch of pictures of super-adorable puppies who are all good boys and girls. This is serious business, people.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Counting Up the Cuteness

Animal Planet staff members kept track of all of the dogs that were photographed in their portrait studio.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Puppies Prepare for Battle

Puppy owners and their dogs wait for their time on the field. Rumors of PED (Puppy Enhancing Drug) use appear to be greatly exaggerated.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Getting His Game Face On

One pup waits backstage for his call to the field. There are three groups of dogs that get to play throughout the day – small, medium and large. We can independently verify each is super-cute.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Unnecessary Cuteness

Sometimes, the Puppy Bowl can get feisty. This guy, in particular, was flagged on several occasions for unsportsmanlike humping.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Better Than a Crummy Trophy

Not surprisingly, often pups get distracted and start playing with toys on the field. This guy really didn't want to let go of his prize.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies; Dan Schachner

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Touchdown!

Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner signals a touchdown. All scoring plays are reviewed up in the booth, probably by a baby owl or something.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies; Dan Schachner

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

A Break in the Action

Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner stops play to have a word with an overexcited pup. Said pup was not ejected, thankfully.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Winning the Turnover Battle

Team Fluff and Team Ruff fight for a dog toy while on the field. As any Puppy Bowl veteran will tell you, winning the turnover war is a key to victory.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Fired Up on the Field

Trash talk is just part of the game at Puppy Bowl XII. Here, one pup delivers a dagger: "Your mom's a bitch."

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

The Production of ‘Puppy Bowl’

While some pups lounge around, others remain in the game. Puppy Bowl producers just let the action happen, which is probably a good idea.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Respect My Authority

Referee Dan Schachner tries talking to one of the pups, who pays him no mind. Officials get no respect.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

TV Timeout

A Puppy Bowl dog-sitter momentarily stops the action to refill water bowls and bring more stuffed toys onto the field.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

The Biggest Show in Town

A backstage look at the production of Puppy Bowl XII reveals that this is a very big deal. The puppies never seem to notice.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Now Taking the Field – This Cute Little Guy

We hope this lil' dude wins Puppy Bowl MVP.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Time to Shine

Puppy Bowl XII player intros are seriously the best.

Puppy Bowl XII; Puppies

October 9, 2015. Rolling Stone at the Animal Planet, Puppy Bowl taping in NYC. Photography by Margarita Corporam

Margarita Corporan

Smile for the Camera

One of the pups gets his portrait taken in Animal Planet's backstage studio. He is presumably a very good boy.

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