Exclusive Puppy Bowl Interview
Q&A: Talking with Dan Schachner aka "The Ref"

PUPPY BOWL is back for its ninth consecutive year on Animal Planet. We spoke with the only human face in puppy football, Dan Schachner, who will be upholding the title of "The Ref" for the second year in a row.

What the puppies live from the locker room now! right here.

Do you have the stamina to keep up with the puppies?
No I don't! Nobody does, but I try my best. We have 63 puppies participating in this year's Puppy Bowl so it is a huge amount of puppies and they rotate them in, so as soon as you think you have conquered the first set of ten pups, a whole new set of 10 are in there to challenge you. It takes two days to film the actual Puppy Bowl so you need a lot of energy and stamina to keep up with those puppies.

Are the puppies training for this event?
If it was up to me, the puppies would be running wind sprints and doing all sorts of exercises to get ready. The puppies have no training so we go with natural ability here. They are between 8 and 15 weeks old, those are our rules, and they have to be from a shelter or a rescue centre, and of course, they have to be cute! Assuming they meet all of the criteria, we will consider them for Puppy bowl.

How about you, do you train for the Puppy Bowl?
Oh yes! I try to train as if I were an athlete myself. I do try to sleep well, eat well, and exercise when I can, especially in the lead up to this event. I try to be on top of my game because you really have to be excited, energetic, and authoritative.

What is your favourite moment?
We had the historic "double touchdown" and I had no idea that "double touchdo
wns" were allowed in puppy football. They are certainly not allowed in human football so I just assumed that rule would apply here with animals, but it doesn't. Puppy Bowl is an individual sport, every puppy is for himself, but we had these two pups who simultaneously dragged their chew toy footballs into the end zone at the same time. You never see that in the NFL or the CFL!

Are you envied as having the cutest job in the world?
Yes! I have heard a lot of people say this is their dream job!

What can we expect from this year's Puppy Bowl?
Great athleticism this year. We are very excited about our MVP. New this year, we have the super slow motion cameras. We are calling them the "cute cams" and they have the ability to slow down the action in full HD. Cameras are embedded inside the chew toys this year, so that you have the chew toy's point of view of the Puppy Bowl from time to time which is cool. Also new this year, we have a puppy hot tub so that our puppy athletes can relax after the game and feel pampered. Our previous cheerleaders have moved on so we are now welcoming nine hedgehogs as our cheerleaders and we are very excited about that.
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