The Puppy Bowl is serious business.

By Emily Caron
February 03, 2019

Puppy Bowl XV is upon us. For two hours before Super Bowl LIII kicks off, the country's most adorable (and adoptable) pups will play one another in a Team Ruff vs. Team Fluff showdown on Animal Planet.

Thirty-six puppies have made 2019's starting lineup, with another 55 second stringers to stand watch on the Puppy Bowl sidelines.

The competition kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Super Bowl Sunday, and we've got you covered with all the rules you need to know to follow along with the furry antics.

Here's how the Puppy Bowl works:

The annual contest features two teams of 18 tiny puppies romping around on a mini football field in the Geico Puppy Bowl Stadium.

The rules of the Puppy Bowl are rather flexible given the energy, excitement and lack of training that characterizes most of the participating players. The rules loosely resemble existing American football rules in that the goal is for a puppy to drag one of the multiple on-field chew toys across the finish line (on either side) for a touchdown.

Regardless of finish line crossed, the touchdown counts as a score for whatever team the puppy belongs to.

Puppies can be called for penalties including “pass inter-fur-ence," “unnecessary ruffness,” and “premature watering of the field.” If a dog commits any of the aforementioned fouls, the puppy will be replaced by a second stringer on the sidelines.

All participating puppies are within 12 and 21 weeks of age meet certain height and weight restrictions due to the size of the “stadium.”

A rotating species of cheerleaders will root for their favorite ruff and fluff pups from the sidelines along with the backup team members.

One dog will be crowned the MVP of the game depending on online votes from viewers. Last year's winner was Bear, an adorable hound mix from Virginia Beach, Va.

The highest scoring team–Ruff or Fluff–will take home the "Lombarky Trophy," a large Petco-branded stuffed toy (and a riff on the Lombardi Trophy given to the NFL's Super Bowl champion).

The Dog Bowl, a one-hour special is dedicated to older adpotable dogs, will follow the Puppy Bowl, with 21 dogs, divided into Team Paws and Team Tails and ranging in age from 2 to 15, taking the field for their own match-up.

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