02/01/2013 02:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Make the Puppy Bowl a Pet Adoption Holiday


For the last eight years non-football fans have been able to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday. Thanks to Animal Planet, the Puppy Bowl has done an excellent job replacing people with dogs.

Something that was created as passive viewing, like the "The Yule Log," has steadily grown since its humble origins in 2005. Since the second Puppy Bowl, more than a million people watched the cute, not exactly sporting event. Last year that trend continued.

The Puppy Bowl was watched by 10 million people in 2012. Ten million people. Ten million people watched puppies play on a 'football field' over five airings. This is great. What makes it great, besides obtaining a feeling of joy and wonder and hope, is that the puppies are all from shelters. A handful of the 10 million viewers ended up adopting the canine athletes.

When the 2013 Puppy Bowl lineup was announced I was once again filled with joy and wonder and hope. Even more animals would find a loving home. I checked the lineup and was happy to see the animals were all up for adoption. Four days before Puppy Bowl IX, all but four of the animals have been adopted.

This is a wonderful problem. Animals, puppies, kitties, pigs and hedgehogs from across the U.S. will go to loving homes. But what about the less athletic animal orphans? Why can't there be regional Puppy Bowls?

The Super Bowl is a celebration of athleticism. It's surrounded by commercialism and brain injuries. If you're not a fan of the Ravens or 49ers or Beyonce or commercials, there's not a reason to watch. The Puppy Bowl is a celebration of dogs. And cats and pigs and hedgehogs. It's surrounded by commercialism (the animals play in the Geico Puppy Bowl Stadium) and no brain injuries. If you're not a fan of cute animals doing cute things, why even own a television?

Unlike the Super Bowl, there's no reason the Puppy Bowl can't become a series of local events. World class athletes are not needed. Animals that need a home, a very small field, maybe some chalk lines and toys are needed. Pet stores have most of these things.

The Super Bowl began as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and the American Football League. Humble beginnings led to the second-largest day for U.S. food consumption and the most watched broadcast of the year. The Puppy Bowl began as mindless programming appealing to non-football fans. There's no reason their bumble beginning can't lead to a unofficial day of pet adoption.