Cuteness Overload: The Puppy Bowl IX

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The ninth annual Puppy Bowl will air this Sunday at 3 pm EST on Animal Planet, and we can't wait to watch some furry football!

It's the ultimate competition for cuteness... in fact, nearly 10 million viewers tuned in to watch this adorable event last year.

For those who don't know about the magic that is the Puppy Bowl, here's a breakdown:

Ten puppies play on the field that is three yards wide by six yards long. When a dog drags one of the chew toys into either end zone, it counts as a touchdown, and in the end, one cuddly canine is crowned MVP (Most Valuable Puppy).

But don't worry - puppies aren't the only pets that have the chance to shine.  Puppy Bowl IX will have baby hedghog cheerleaders, hamsters "flying" in the blimp over Puppy Bowl stadium and Meep the bird tweeting from the sidelines.

(There's also a halftime kitten show)

Referee Dan Schachner is back for the second year in a row, calling penalties and cleaning up any messes if necessary. His favorite penalties: “Illegal Use of the Paws" and "Unpuppylike Conduct."

All of the 63 puppies who will take part in the show come from shelters and rescue organizations across the country and can be adopted via Petfinder.com, which has helped more than 20 million pets find homes.

But the larger goal is to provide national exposure to rescue shelters and dogs that need homes.

"A lot of people have come in during the last year and said, 'I want a dog just like Fumble,'"  said executive producer Melinda Toporoff, referring to spcaLA's player entry in "Puppy Bowl VIII" who earned the game's MVP title.

Are you planning to watch the big game? Check out some of our favorites from the starting line-up below:

Fitz

Biscuit

Aurora

Daffodil

Blitz

Sally 

Tuck

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