puppy bowl pictureAnimal Planet

In what's become an annual awww-producing tradition, this year's Puppy Bowl has a few new tricks up its sleeve. From chicken cheerleaders to the Kiss Cam to watching the whole thing in 3-D, Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl VII just might make you forget about the Packers-Steelers game altogether!

Meet the Puppy-Meister
We recently caught up with the man who is in the middle of all the action: Puppy Bowl referee Andrew Schechter (who also serves as coordinating producer of the event). Schechter has been making tough "unnecessary-ruffness" calls for four years now and wouldn't have it any other way.

"Some children grow up wanting to be firefighters; others want to be astronauts," he says. "I grew up wanting to be the referee of adorable puppies pretending to play football in a miniature stadium. Dreams really do come true!"

Shelter Dogs Rule the Gridiron
This year he'll ref a picture-perfect lineup of a whopping 47 puppies! "They are all from different shelters. The puppies range in age from 7 to 16 weeks old, and there are 29 different breeds represented," he says. "Of course, the Puppy Bowl referee doesn't play favorites but, I must say, Puppy Bowl VII features some of the cutest and most rambunctious puppy players yet!"

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