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Puppy Bowl IX: Puppy Players, Hedgehog Cheerleaders and a Kitten Halftime Show

Hedgehog cheerleaders will be a new addition to this year's Puppy Bowl which airs Sunday prior to Super Bowl XLVII.

Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IX will air from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The Los Angeles Times sums up the premise: During the low-key football game, the puppies are placed on a 3-by-6 yard field with a bunch of plush chew toys shaped like footballs, ducks and sausages and are left alone to play. Eventually a puppy will manage to drag a chew toy into an end zone and the referee, Dan Schachner, will declare a touchdown has been scored.

In what promises to be a cuteness overload, 63 puppies playing faux football will be joined by nine hedgehog cheerleaders in tutus and 21 kittens performing during a halftime show.

And don't forget the half-dozen hamster reporters that fly above the puppy stadium in a blimp! 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, also new to this year's Puppy Bowl is a cool down tub where puppies can rest, new "Puppy Cam" technology that will get viewers closer to the action with "in your face" camera angles and special cameras to show some of the best moments in slow motion.

What's more? All of the animals featured in Puppy Bowl IX come from shelters and rescue organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico. And last, year Animal Planet's pet-rescue site Petfinder.com saw a 22 percent increase in visits and a 32 percent jump in search referrals, including a 500 percent increase in referrals from Animal Planet's website as a result of the Puppy Bowl.

Will you be watching all the cuteness that is Puppy Bowl IX? Tell us in comments. 

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