Puppy Bowl XV: See the starters for ‘Team Ruff’ and ‘Team Fluff’ (photos)

WASHINGTON — Is there anything Tom Brady can’t do?

Well, yeah: The Patriots quarterback might be the “greatest of all time” (for now), but even Boston fans would admit Brady can’t look adorable chewing on a rope.

Get hyped, y’all: Puppy Bowl XV is at hand. Hours before fans and gamblers berate the referees and Maroon 5 during Super Bowl LIII, they will overeat, tune in to Animal Planet and watch these sweet widdle wum-wums frolic, flop, roll, chew and, yes, even defecate.

Animal Planet has unveiled its starting lineups for Team Ruff and Team Fluff. All look formidable. (See Puppy Bowl XV’s starting lineup in the gallery below.)

The bowl seems to get bigger each year. According to Animal Planet, last year’s “broke ratings records,” with a 1.46 rating among 25- to 54-year-olds — whatever that means.

And with all those eyeballs comes an apparent urgency to raise the stakes. Take a look at what’s in store this year:

  • “The tailgating starts with the Puppy Bowl Pregame Show 2 p.m., featuring aww-nalysis and cuddly commentary from sports correspondents, including the infamous Rodt Weiler with James Hound and Sheena Inu serving as pregame show analysts,” Animal Planet said in a pun-ridden statement.
  • Three baby porcupines will cheer for Team Ruff, the network said. A capybara will be on the sidelines rooting for Team Fluff.
  • Baby kangaroo cheerleaders will also be on hand. This is not a joke.
  • The Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Kitty Halftime Show will feature “Adam Feline of Purr-oon 5” (direct all pun complaints to Discovery Networks, please) and the Atlanta Acro-Cats.
  • Longtime “rufferee” Dan Schachner returns as well, and will be assisted by (again, not a joke) Shirley the rescue sloth.

Puns and decidedly weird moments aside, this annual showcase of cute has made a real difference through the years. The first 14 bowls have featured more than 500 adoptable puppies and kittens. All found their forever homes.

This year, 93 puppies are featured. They’ll come from 51 shelters from over 20 states and territories. As in previous Puppy Bowls, the rosters include talent from the mid-Atlantic: Pirate the English springer spaniel is from Alexandria, Virginia. Ace the chihuahua and Scooter the cocker spaniel will rep Virginia Beach.

The local connections don’t end there. Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl II (for older unadopted dogs) will feature D.C.’s own Humane Rescue Alliance — in particular, its recent Walk for the Animals event.

“We were able to raise $73,000 last year, and we’re excited to have another event this year in September,” said the alliance’s Dani Rizzo.

Puppy Bowl XV kickoff is at 3 p.m. There is no betting line as of yet. But if last year is any indication, gamblers will probably be able to put their money where their, um, snout is.

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