These are dark days for professional football. There's the NFL's concussion crisis, the rising popularity of soccer (the other football) after the World Cup and now the ascendancy of a new kind of American football that's a lot more cuddly, much more pleasant to look at and whose only real dark side is the risk of flea bites: Feline Football.
Building off the success of the first-ever Kitten Bowl in January, Hallmark Channel is planning Kitten Bowl II on Su-Purr Bowl Sunday in February 2015. The first Kitten Bowl was hosted by Beth Stern and saw the furry sports stars leaping, pouncing, snuggling and cleaning around a miniature football field.
We saw such sports stars as Mr. Whiskers, Crazy Legs (an all-pro out of "Neuter Dame"), Midnight and Hairy Rice strut their stuff to glory. Final score saw the North Shore Bengals top the Cedar Cove Cougars 24-20.
But the cuteness isn't ending there!
In the run-up to Kitten Bowl II, Hallmark Channel is mounting the Feline Football League, which will seek out only the best and cutest kittens for a draft, which will institute all the new FFL teams. Beginning in November, animal-based-sports junkies will be able to follow along with the league's latest games through Hallmark Channel's website and social media as the teams march on toward Su-Purr Bowl Sunday on Feb. 1.
The Kitten Bowl is Hallmark's answer to the annual Puppy Bowl that airs on Animal Planet. Except, you know, with kittens instead of puppies.
Sadly, the Bud Bowl, featuring stop-motion-animated bottles of beer playing football, ended in 1997.
Follow me on Twitter: @patrickkevinday