Stock Up on Beer for the First Official Puppy Bowl Drinking Game

Plus: Photos of the cutest dogs in this year's event.

It’s coming! It’s coming! The biggest sporting event of the year! No, not the Farmers Insurance Open. (Though, hats off, Tiger.) Not the World Series. (Gosh, do you know anything about when sports happen?) Not the Super Bowl. (Meh.) It’s almost time for Puppy Bowl IX, the triumphant face-off of skills, spirit and itty-bitty wittle puppy faces.

While I can only assume the everyone with functioning eyeballs is a fan of cute puppies chasing around a ball, there are other reasons to watch this year’s Puppy Bowl. There’s the Kitten Half-Time Show, hamsters—from the Lancaster Humane Society—in a blimp, hedgehog cheerleaders and a super-earnest ref who appears to believe he’s doing the work of the Lord. And for those who don’t think this is actual sporting event: au contraire! As I learned from last year’s Bowl, these dogs actually score touchdowns and get flagged for unnecessary roughness. Just like real football!

Also just like real football, the Puppy Bowl is an excellent excuse to get drunk in front of the television with a bunch of your friends. Some may say that 3 p.m. is too early to start drinking on a Sunday. Pishposh, I say! It is never too early to enjoy a thematically relevant adult beverage, especially when there are games involved. More importantly, the Super Bowl isn’t that exciting. (Note to anyone who is thinking, “But the commercials!”: I promise, they will all be on the internet within 3.2 seconds of airing. You aren’t missing anything.) And it doesn’t start until 6 p.m. So you may as well have a few beers and giggle at the cute animals. Thus, I offer you the first official Puppy Bowl Drinking Game. Bottoms up, sports fans!

Take a sip of your Stoudt’s Fat Dog if …

  • Anyone refers to the dogs as “athletes.”
  • They show the hamsters! They’re from Lancaster, which is kind of near here. Just like Adamstown, Pennsylvania, where Stoudt’s is made.
  • There is a shot of a puppy shaking in super-slow motion. This year’s Bowl is the first with the Ultra Slo-Mo Cute Cam so there will probably be a lot of these.
  • Every time you relate to one of the fun facts about a dog’s personality. (For example, 10-week-old Fitz, a Catahoula from New Jersey prefers Bon Jovi to the Boss, so Victor Fiorillo, author of “10 Reasons I Hate Bruce Springsteen” would imbibe.)

Take a gulp of your Dogfish Head Bitches Brew if …

  • There’s a fight that has to be broken up by the ref.
  • Someone you’re playing this game with makes a joke about dogs being bitches.
  • Any of the hedgehog cheerleaders are wearing skirts.

Drink all of your Hair of the Dog Little Dog(s) if …

  • The guy from Pit Boss makes a cameo appearance.
  • Any of the dogs pee on the field.
  • Any of the dogs fall in the water bowl.
  • The cats appear to using illegal substances during the Kitten Half Time Show. This is probably all of the cats since those toys are laced with cat nip.

Pour out your Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale if …

  • Any of the dogs get a little frisky.
  • You tweet at sideline commentator @MeeptheBird.