MIAMI – If the Super Bowl is really all about the events that surround the game rather than the game itself (please see my opening blog this week for verification!), then that supporting cast of events are all about things like the Dog Bowl 2010: Touchdown Treats Championship.
In a nutshell, this has everything you need to know and love about the hoopla that goes with a week of fun and frolics that just happens to have a game at the end of it.
First off, we have sunshine, and the feel of being somewhere exotic (and Miami is certainly light years ahead of most of Western Europe at this time of year – so please note we really don’t ever want a Super Bowl in London).
Then we have a celebrity special guest – in this instance the very willing, amiable and canine-oriented Mr. Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who obviously felt that if he couldn’t actually be in the game itself, the next best thing was hosting something with the word “Bowl” in the title.
And finally we had the essential ingredient of something furry and cuddly – and no, I don’t mean the Saints and Colts mascots, Blue and Gumbo, who just happened to be the assistant “hosts” for the event.
The competitors in Dog Bowl 2010 (sponsored by Hill’s Science Diet Simple Essential Treats – free samples for all pooches in attendance!) were the real stars, whether they were cute little yorkie Zoe and her remarkable ability to do hardly any of the tricks demanded of her or boisterous collie Xena, leaping around furiously and barking at all (especially the mascots).
Their three-part mission was an Agility Competition; the Quarterback Sack and Fetch (which somehow degenerated into catching a ball and bringing it back – or not, in some cases); and the Touchdown Dance Celebration, which was the cue for a variety of original leaps and maneuvers, highlighted by Diva, who lived up to her name by balancing on her owner’s back and performing the kind of scene-stealing showmanship guaranteed to turn Chad Ochocinco green with envy.
Eventual winner Hope and her owner Leslie Granville-Smith from Boca Raton were the lucky recipients of two tickets to Sunday’s game, leaving me to ask the obvious question: Did you ever think your dog would take you to a Super Bowl?
“Never ever in my wildest dreams!” gushed the delighted owner. And as for Hope, I think you can safely say she will be living a true dog’s life for some time to come.
– Simon Veness
(U.S.-based British writer Simon Veness has infiltrated the ranks of NFL.com for Super Bowl week with his transatlantic take on events.)