Puppy Bowl VIII: The ultimate puppy showdown

11:21 AM, Jan 31, 2014   |    comments
Jessie, Amy and Big Red playing in Puppy Bowl VII.
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(CBS) This Sunday, Feb. 5, the ultimate showdown of athleticism will take place. Fans will gather around the TV to watch - no, not the Super Bowl - cute little puppies carrying a tiny plastic football into the end zone at this year's Puppy Bowl VIII.

Special Section: Super Bowl XLVI

Animal Planet and Petfinder.com has searched shelters and rescue groups across the nation for the toughest pups to compete on the mini football field to show their skills and cuteness. A total of 58 puppies will compete and they will be joined by other adorable animals, who will cheer on their canine friends.

The kittens are providing the halftime entertainment at the "Bissell Kitty Half-Time Show" (for those who aren't fans of Madonna) and the piggy pep squad will "ham" it up on the sidelines. Birds will be tweeting updates from the twitter handle @MeepTheBird on game day for the latest updates and hamsters will be "flying" the "Ice Breakers Mints blimp."

The event, which was originally created as a refuge for animal lovers bored with Super Bowl pregame shows, Puppy Bowl has become one of the network's most popular events.

Last year's Puppy Bowl set records with at total of 9.2 million viewers tuning in to watch the puppies wrestle each other to the end zone.

The Puppy Bowl will air on Feb. 5 from 3-5 p.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet.

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