Even the Professional Bull Riders circuit wants a piece of the Super Bowl action.

Check out recently retired Bushwacker, a 1,750-pound bull, who picks the winner between the Seahawks and Patriots by choosing between two feed buckets.

Wrigley Field's $575 million renovation project is turning out to be something of a headache. It's already fallen behind schedule and won't be finished before the start of the 2015 season.

That's in addition to the noise, traffic congestion and dust of any construction project. Of course, all of this seems trivial in light of the new problems facing the area around Wrigley Field:

The neighborhood has been hit with a plague of rats.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the rat population around Wrigley Field has shot up significantly since construction began. While no one's saying the construction is definitely causing rat uptick, it does seem very likely that the two are related.

“The rats have been running rampant,” said one neighborhood resident to the Tribune. "I'm not kidding you. There are people in the alley and there are still rats running around and it’s daylight."

Residents are throwing heaping supplies of rat poison toward the problem, and the rats are gobbling it up -- but that hasn't put the population into decline. Private exterminators have also been called in, but the problem seems so widespread that treating one home doesn't figure to do much damage.

No word on whether the thriving rat community in Chicago was involved in the deplorable 2011 food safety violations that led to three Wrigley Field concessions stands getting shut down. Once again: No clear connection, but it does make for a convenient narrative.

Apparently, a Cubs spokesman said the team hasn't yet received any rat-related complaints.

That's about to change.

New England's Alan Branch has a strong association with Arizona, where Super Bowl XLIX is being played. In the offseason, the tackle -- who has bounced around several teams during his NFL career -- calls Arizona home. He started his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals.

But not all of the associations are positive. For Branch, Arizona is also home to a tragedy involving four of his dogs.

Last summer, four of Branch's five dogs died from suffocation at a kennel outside of Phoenix. Branch had placed the dogs in the kennel while he went to minicamp with the Buffalo Bills. While away, he received a phone call informing him that one of the dogs had chewed through the fencing and died from heat exhaustion in the intense Phoenix heat.

But that was far from the truth. A police investigation determined that the kennel had stuffed 28 dogs into a 9-by-12-foot room at the kennel. While in there, the air conditioner servicing the room malfunctioned. The seals on the doors into the room were so tight that 23 dogs died.

“It was definitely rough,” Branch said, according to a story from The Boston Globe. “I’m bouncing back slowly but surely from the loss. I just tried to be a rock for my family. Fortunately we’re getting through it. The kids aren’t crying or waking up crying missing their dogs right now. I think we’re doing better.”

When management discovered the scene, several of the dogs had died, and many were under distress. Instead of seeking out medical help, they tried to cool the dogs off with hoses and ice. Many more died, possibly when proper care could have saved them.

Then, instead of owning up to the mistake, the managers tried to fabricate a scene of their death in a shed out back. When officials finally showed up, the dogs were covered with flies and maggots.

There is currently dispute over what charges the owners should face, since it's unclear if the air conditioner is to blame or if neglect caused the death of the dogs, now referred to as the "Gilbert 23" in reference to the Phoenix suburb where the kennel is located. Many advocates are calling for animal neglect charges to be brought, but currently the kennel only faces one charge of fraud.

Branch said his family is looking into getting new dogs soon, but they haven't reached that point. Right now, his hope is that something good comes from the loss of his dogs.

"I just want justice," Branch said. "And if anything, for Arizona to have stricter laws on what can be considered a boarding facility."

GoDaddy does like a good commercial that stirs up attention and controversy. The company consistently spend on ridiculous commercials that bear no relation to its actual website creation and management services, and instead try to wedge themselves in consumer minds simply by being extreme and memorable.

For what it's worth, GoDaddy accomplished that again with this year's commercial. But it was so audacious -- and, many would say, reprehensible -- that the company has been forced to pull the ad.

The original commercial, teased online ahead of the Super Bowl, also serves as a not-so-subtle jab at Budweiser, which experienced huge success with its puppy-centric ads the past two Super Bowls. GoDaddy's ad tells the story of a puppy named Buddy who falls off a moving farm truck and is separated from his family. Despite adverse weather and long distances, Buddy manages to make it back home.

When Buddy makes it back, his owner greets him with terrible news:

"I’m so glad you made it home… because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy.com."

The commercial drew widespread outrage for promoting puppy milling and other irresponsible breeding practices. Eventually, GoDaddy was attacked by prominent voices including Leigh Anne Tuohy, portrayed by Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side," as well as Kelsey Patterson, wife of TCU football coach Gary Patterson.



Eventually, the criticisms became so loud that GoDaddy pulled the commercial from YouTube and announced that the commercial would not air during the Super Bowl.

"The responses [to the ad] were emotional and direct," said CEO Blake Irving. "Many people urged us not to run the ad…. The net result? We are pulling the ad from the Super Bowl. You’ll still see us in the Big Game this year, and we hope it makes you laugh.

"Finally, rest assured, Buddy came to us from a reputable and loving breeder in California. He’s now part of the GoDaddy family as our Chief Companion Officer and he's been adopted permanently by one of our longtime employees."

Good news, indeed, for Buddy, but Irving's apology sounds vaguely self-lauding where it should be contrite. GoDaddy appears all too eager to point out that it listened to the calls of the people, while glossing over its poor judgement.

Whether it was a PR stunt or a genuine lapse in thinking, it's hard to tell.

As for making us laugh, we've got news, GoDaddy: You're not as funny as you think.

Last year's Budweiser commercial, for context:

The Super Bowl isn't the only bowl in town. For fans of distractions other than football, cable channels have been getting creative in recent years to produce programming that appeals to a different, underrepresented audience.

There's the long-running Puppy Bowl, and then came the Kitten Bowl. Now, after last year's success with the inaugural Fish Bowl, National Geographic has announced that Fish Bowl II is officially on the schedule.

The channel will dedicate four hours of programming during the Super Bowl to some goldfish -- allegedly double the goldfish on display last year -- swimming around in a bowl. There will also be a clownfish added to this year's tank, guaranteeing some wackiness from the four-hour saga.

If that doesn't sound exciting to you, consider how non-football fans must feel about an entire day dedicated to a sport they don't care about.

Fish Bowl II may appeal to a niche group, but it fulfills the vast potential of cable television by ensuring there's something for everyone to watch on Super Bowl Sunday -- assuming you enjoy football, puppies, kittens or fish.

If that doesn't sate your appetite, there's always next year.

The University of Texas has made a lot of money by betting that love for the Longhorns knows no bounds. That's why the school has the Longhorn Network -- a 24-hour cable channel devoted to Texas athletics.

On Christmas Day, that Longhorn love will be exemplified in the most literal form you could imagine: the Longhorn Network will air a five-hour, commercial-free special that features mascot Bevo the Longhorn grazing in a field.

The move is ostensibly an improvisation on the yule log/faux fire tradition that features TV stations devoting air time to broadcasting video of a warm fire flickering and crackling to the background of Christmas music.

In that context, Bevo figures to be as entertaining as its predecessors.




Amazingly, Bevo will be up against a competing SEC Network broadcast of the real deal: a fireplace.


Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal.

A dog born with deformities in his front legs has been given second life thanks to the kindness and ingenuity of his new owner.

Born in August 2013, Derby's former owners considered sending him to a shelter to be euthanized. Instead they left him at Peace and Paws Dog Rescue, a rescue home in New Hampshire.

When Tara Anderson, a director at a 3D printing company, first adopted Derby he had a set of wheels to help him get around. But Anderson wanted to give Derby even more freedom, so she and her company, 3D Systems, created a pair of prosthetic legs for the pup.

Derby's legs were scanned and modeled and a ProJet 550X 3D Printer was used to make the new legs. According to BuzzFeed, the actual printing of the prosthetics only took a matter of hours.

Now, Derby routinely runs two or three miles a day.

Here's Derby's inspiring story:

Someone taught the dog a new trick.

Jack the Bulldog is Georgetown's official mascot, and the sweater-wearing pup doesn't need much help in the adorable department. But someone upped the stakes for mascots everywhere by teaching the dog how to ride a skateboard:

Jack mounted his skateboard and cruised the hardwood just before Georgetown took on Kansas on Wednesday night. For a program looking to re-establish its presence among college basketball's powerhouse programs, Jack's skateboarding skills might not mean much in the long run.

But on the other hand, it's a reason to tune in. And that's worth something.

This Finnish golden retriever clearly has its priorities in order.

During an episode of the competition "Koira Mestari," the dogs are supposed to run straight through a tantalizing track of toys and food. One clever canine wasn't buying it.

Instead, this retriever stopped at all the food bowls and had a snack. Even some prodding from the dog's owner couldn't get it to the finish line. This strong-willed pooch made a pit stop at every last food bowl on the track.

The retriever in question starts at about the :51 mark of the video below (you'll know it's the right one when you hear the "Benny Hill" theme song in the background):

The trend of photobombing might not have jumped the shark yet, but in Australia, there was just a case of a jumping shark doing a photobomb at a surfing competition.

This, according to the AP, happened in the New South Wales state town of Coffs Harbour, and an amateur photographer Steph Bellamy captured the moment on her smartphone. But initially Bellamy didn't even realize what was happening. After taking a closer look at her photo, she realized it was a shark.

"He jumped twice, he photobombed big time, then he went on his way," Bellamy told the AP.

The surfers got out of the water, but returned about 15 minutes after the shark left the area.

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