George Mason Law School

Confusion Corner: A treatise on the Puppy Bowl

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February 12, 2010

1:53 AM

I, like many of my compatriots, have spent this last week’s end cheering the glorious Super Bowl victory of the New Orleans Saints, certainly making geldings of the Colts in their wake. But in my celebration, I happened across a man who concerned himself with quite another contest: that of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. Or, as it’s also known, when Animal Planet gives up trying to oppose the Super Bowl and instead airs seemingly unedited footage of frolicking puppies.

I had a passing knowledge of the event, but the man — he had just been released from incarceration, as I heard it later mentioned — started into an impassioned speech on the subject. And although I had previously only the slightest awareness of the game, I became thoroughly convinced of his position and of its importance to society at large, enough to wish to present it to you now.

Now, my command of rhetoric is in no way equal to his. Thankfully, he provided a flyer which carefully argued his assertion better than I could hope to remember it. I therefore humbly present his flyer, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection:

“A Modest Pup-osal: For Improving the Excitement and General Quality of the Puppy Bowl, and for Making It Beneficial to the Publick:

Myself a longtime lover of the Puppy Bowl, and something of a dog aficionado as well, it should come as no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s contest. Jake, your Most Valuable Puppy was a well-deserved award indeed. But, as an involved spectator, I cannot help but suggest those improvements to the proceedings, as they currently stand, that would benefit the endeavor as a whole.

This past bowl came, as with every iteration, with the addition of some new attraction (kittens, rabbits, etc.) appended to the main event. Certainly, the goal in these additions is the gradual improvement of the game, but in this respect, its organizers have seemed to have hit a barrier of sorts. One could hardly argue that this year’s addition of blimp-piloting hamsters was truly a betterment of the game itself. And though I’m always a fan of watching puppies endlessly pounce on one another — Spots, you scoundrel, you — the event seems to be lacking any overarching goal or point, I believe to its detriment.

In this, I think it’s creators have lost sight of their purpose. For guidance, they may do well to look toward the game from which the Puppy Bowl was founded: football. It’s a sport — perhaps the most American of all sports — driven by the spectacle of competition. It’s this spirit of competition that compels us each year to watch that sport’s pinnacle, the Super Bowl, and it is in this spirit that the game best reflects the character of our great Nation.

What aspect, therefore, must be different with the Puppy, who is no less compelled by the competitive spirit than is the Ball Player? Surely the Puppy’s playful jostling belies an inherent desire for competition, for which they would ask us, their benefactors — were only the rascals able to speak — for a more structured framework. Yet, much as the player himself is not asked to construct the regulations and intricacies of his game, but merely participate within its rules, so puppies might be suited, not to the assembling of the game, but to its undertaking. Its composition is therefore our responsibility: the puppies selection, their conduct and so forth.

Now, in what manner must these puppies be chosen? Is it not currently for their physical aesthetic, what may be termed ‘cuteness?’ Now surely this is in poor judgment, if the model of football is to be respected. For, in the case of the player, it is not merely for physical beauty that he is selected — though it is a quality celebrated by some, and may well secure for that handsome Player a great deal of commercial endorsement — but for excellence in the sport to which he is committed. Surely this we must prize above all other considerations.

And is the player also, at least to a certain extent, not trained and bred — to borrow the canine term — in order to better fulfill his role within the game? A certain degree of aggression cultivated in his demeanor? At times disregarding even any injury that may result to his person (though moderating risk of harm with sound judgment on his handler’s part)? So then it must be for the puppy.

But, unlike in the case of the player, the puppy is unable to command the coordination of a team, which comprises a vital part of the football game. Isn’t it then more suited to the Puppy, as a species, to create — in no less competitive a scenario than of the player — a game by which one Puppy may be able to contest directly with another, with no need for the team’s coordination, to which he seems naturally disinclined? It seems so.

These considerations may well lead to a fiercer contest amongst the puppies, and who doesn’t enjoy a lively contest? The chance of violence, as with any great sport, and almost certainly the exchange of bets among its spectators may strengthen the match. But these are aspects of the football game as well, and integral ones at that, so we could not be much misplaced by imitating them.

I would therefore urge the immediate creation of our New Puppy Bowl, following the standards we have just established. No time ought be wasted. Should its organizers need any assistance in constructing such a game, I happily volunteer my own services entirely free of charge, myself having formerly organized something quite similar.

Sincerely,

Michael Vick

Football and Canine Enthusiast”

And when the man had rested his case, I easily assented, and thought he had spoken truly. So I happily present his case for publick consideration, truly believing it to be in the interest of all those involved.

Finally, I assure you, lest you think my motivations less than sincere, that I myself have no dog, nor any domesticated beast, by which I could hope to profit from the system insofar established — my interest in this, as with all other things, lies solely with the good of the publick.

__Kevin Mooney is the Flat Hat Confusion Corner columnist he hopes you have been convinced by this argument to henceforth appreciate the Puppy Bowl.__

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