The Puppy Bowl is Terrible

It’s time someone said it. The Puppy Bowl is terrible. Small dogs are not good athletes.


The Super Bowl is this Sunday, and like most Americans I will watch the Denver Broncos play the Seattle Seahawks while drinking beer, eating chicken wings and yelling at the TV, often simultaneously.

I will watch the pre-game show, because I’m a fan of any TV program in which five millionaires sit around a desk and fake-laugh while veiling their mutual contempt. I will watch the commercials because some of them are more entertaining than whole movies. I will watch the halftime show in case there are nipples. But I will not watch The Puppy Bowl. The Puppy Bowl is terrible.

The Puppy Bowl launched on Animal Planet in 2005. Like a sucker, I tune in every year expecting improvement from the puppies, but they continue to disappoint.

Animal Planet, it’s time someone said it: puppies are terrible at football.

I hardly know where to begin. Let’s start on offense. The puppies have no offensive strategy. There is no huddle. No plays are called. Is there a quarterback? No one seems to want the responsibility. Worse, the ball is often left unattended in a corner with no effort made to retrieve it. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I’m used to that. I expect more from puppies.

The defense is a joke. Most of the players seem more interested in socializing than stopping the opposing team. Defense wins championships. It’s about tenacity. It’s about the will to win. It’s about scratching and clawing and breaking the opponent before you. You cannot break an opponent’s will by sniffing his derriere, especially if he’s open to it.

What’s sad is that all of this terrible play might be prevented if the referee un-swallowed his whistle and called a foul once in a while. Every play is a laundry list of penalties – illegal formation, offsides, encroachment, clipping, holding, late hits, you name it. And I’m sorry, but Unnecessary Ruff-Ness, Illegal Use of the Paws and Illegal Retriever Down Field are not real penalties. The ref only seems to blow his whistle to call attention to when something adorable is happening.

Since when can you bite and then hump your own teammate during a game and it’s OK?!? (Outside of Oakland.)

The problem, I very much believe, is the Puppy Bowl culture. In Puppy Bowl VI, Jake the Chihuahua Pug was awarded the game’s MVP award by Animal Planet (see video) for nothing more than running around. Jake didn’t score, kick a field goal or make a goal-line stand. This teaches the impressionable puppies watching at home to value the absence of skill, teamwork and sportsmanship. It’s probably why most puppies today are so immature and most of the puppies who make it to the big game don’t know how to handle the spotlight.

What can be done? Well, we can’t ignore the Puppy Bowl. It’s too big. It’s ingrained in our popular culture. So we have to fix it.

Before these puppies are ever put on national television, they should be taught how to block, run, pass, receive and tackle as a team unit. We’ll need to start puppy football teams on college campuses or create developmental leagues where puppies learn that the gridiron is more than just a place to run around like a fool.

For the puppies who have the right stuff, the Puppy Bowl and perhaps even a roster spot on the Cleveland Browns await.

Joe Donatelli is the author of Full Griswold: Stories from a Honeymoon in Italy. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


The Humor Columnist Interview with Jeff Kramer

An interview with former Orange County Register and current Syracuse New Times humor columnist Jeff Kramer.


Back when newspapers had humor columnists, the Orange County Register had a good one. From 1994-2003 Jeff Kramer covered life behind the Orange Curtain, first as a military reporter then as a humor columnist for seven years.

Kramer carved a niche for himself as a local humor columnist, one of the small band of brothers and sisters who entertain and inform regional audiences across the country. They deal with all of the same aggravations as nationally-renowned humor writers, and they reap a fraction of the financial rewards. If they were baseball players, you’d say local humor columnists do it for the love of the game. Kramer’s one of those guys—one of the ones with stories to tell. (In fact, he told me a good one that involves a steamroller that’s not included in this interview. You can read it here.)

Originally from Seattle, Kramer graduated from Western Washington University where he wrote a humor column for his college paper. After graduation he worked at the Middlesex News in the western suburbs of Boston and wrote a humor column for three years under editor Ken Hartnett. Kramer moved to Los Angeles and was a full-time freelancer in the Los Angeles Times’ west-side office in Santa Monica. He was also the Boston Globe’s Los Angeles correspondent. It was while working for the Globe that Kramer briefly gained national attention. He was the reporter who was shot three times during the L.A. riots in 1992. He wrote about the experience for People.

Not long after that the Register hired him full-time, and Kramer wrote his humor column under editor Michael Hewitt. To any OCR folks reading this, Kramer said he’s happy that the Register is doing so well and hiring so aggressively.

The Register lost its resident funny man when Kramer and his family moved to upstate New York, where his wife was raised. Jeff and his wife Leigh Neumann have two daughters, Miranda, 13 and Lily, 10, and they have three dogs. Everyone in the family has appeared in print at one time or another, some rather infamously.

In Syracuse Kramer wrote a freelance column for the Post-Standard for seven years before he and the paper parted ways. In the summer of 2013 he began writing his column again for the alternative Syracuse New Times. In addition to columns and articles, Kramer has written two stage plays, “Reaching for Marsby” and “Lowdown Lies,” and he produces a local sketch comedy show called “Sketchy Mall People.”

Continue reading “The Humor Columnist Interview with Jeff Kramer”


The definitive photo of the 2012 Donatelli family summer vacation

This is a funny dog photos of our mutt Chloe asleep in a suitcase

Dog in a suitcase

This is where our dog Chloe slept in the cabin. I eventually removed my clothes from the suitcase and dropped in the blanket. I took this photo of her sleeping while everyone else was watching the Olympics. I know she looks like a puppy, but she’s actually 246 years old.


Yes, our dog has her own theme song

Listen to the theme song for “Puppy Love,” an imaginary TV show about my dog Chloe.

Today is our dog Chloe’s 11th birthday. This photo is from back in her modeling days, long before she settled into her current routine of following us into the kitchen every time we go in there, napping 23 hours a day and barking at the printer because she thinks it’s another dog.

To commemorate Chloe’s birthday I’m going to share her theme song publicly for the first time today. Mike Costantini and I recorded this for my wife Jen’s 30th birthday. Mike performed the music and sang the lead vocals. I wrote the lyrics and did some backing. The song is what we imagined a theme song for a TV show about Chloe would sound like. The show and the theme song are called “Puppy Love.” It’s by far the greatest creative endeavor I’ve ever been a part of.

Puppy Love Theme Song