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Three Ways to Improve the Puppy Bowl

It's time to turn our attention away from the violent spectacle of football and toward the adorable spectacle of the Puppy Bowl. Yesterday was Puppy Bowl IX, and with each passing year, there's more hoopla, be it hedgehog cheerleaders or a tweeting parakeet.

Now it's time for a come-to-Jesus talk, Puppy Bowl. We love your puppies. But everything else is terrible.

First and most important, stop shoving Animal Planet "personalities" into the festivities. Why is the cast of Finding Bigfoot involved in celebrating puppy touchdowns in any way? (Also, did they find Bigfoot yet, or what?) There are Animal Planet shows that are actually about dogs and cats; if we must spend time on cross-promotion, perhaps those people could say something interesting or relevant about dogs and cats. I don't ask Dan Marino for cat-whispering tips. Why is cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy forced to make sports jokes? Ugh, don't cut to the guy from Call of the Wildman just when things are getting interesting out on the field.

Speaking of interesting, no one actually wants the Puppy Bowl to be interesting. Stop trying to force conflict. According to a story in The New Yorker, the Puppy Bowl films 90 hours of footage to condense into the two-hour show. This is madness. Give us deep cuts of puppies just farting around doing nothing! Sure, avoid most of the defecation scenes — some of us are eating chips and stuff while watching this — but "not running around" does not mean "not fun to watch." Do the puppies adorably fall asleep on the field? I bet they do. Do they perk their puppy eyebrows up as they quizzically sniff around and discover nothing? I'm sure of it! Yes, it was nice to see Marta go HAM on her much larger competitors last night, but anyone with a heart and a brain would rather watch more puppies for longer. Don't edit things down on our behalf.

Finally, get Brian Williams to be the referee. No offense to Dan Schachner, but he is no BriWi. Williams is a fan of the event, so much so that he almost adopted one of this year's contestants, Pearl.

But the kitten halftime show is perfect as is — do not change a thing.

Photo: Keith Barraclough/Animal Planet