The biggest interception of Thanksgiving 2018 didn’t happen during any of the football games.
A viral video spread on Thursday from one of the fastest-growing holiday traditions, the National Dog Show that has been steadily growing an audience of people looking to watch anything other than pigskin on Thanksgiving. The show produced a viral moment this year when a trainer held a dog treat just out of reach from his pup as it was being examined by a judge, then put it in his own mouth after the checkdown was complete.
Video of the trainer’s swipe of the dog treat quickly made its way around the internet, gaining close to 2 million views in just a few hours. To many, the viral clip showed just how popular the National Dog Show is becoming an alternative to football.
As the Washington Post reported, the show airs on NBC after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has ended and regularly draws about 20 million viewers. The show itself actually took place last Friday, but the results were kept closely guarded until it aired mid-day on Thanksgiving.
As the Washington Post noted, the show found an ability to connect with a wide audience thank in part to commentary from John O’Hurley, better known as the actor who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld. It also offers animals as an escape for viewers who aren’t keen on football — a formula that the Puppy Bowl has been working to perfection for more than a decade on Super Bowl Sunday.
The report also noted that it’s easy to connect with dog lovers.
“And that, my friends, is the simple genius behind this show. People love dogs. They love to own them: There are 90 million pet dogs in the United States. They love to shop for them: Owners will spend $59 billion this year on food, vet care, toys, outfits and more, including dog birthdays. And they love to watch them on Thanksgiving: The National Dog Show is the highest-rated canine contest in the country, trouncing both Puppy Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday and the Westminster Dog Show in February.”
It likely helps that the show has been able to produce some viral moments, even if it does happen to be a dog trainer stealing and eating a treat.
my man just swiped a treat from his dog on national tv pic.twitter.com/qCh0rndGgw
— Michael (@_FleerUltra) November 22, 2018
PHOTOS: All the Woofs, Wags and Winners from the 2018 National Dog Show https://t.co/8zMYnPCWCc
— People (@people) November 22, 2018
The winner of this year’s show was Whiskey the Whippet, People magazine noted. For the trainer of the losing little ball of black puff, a dog treat was the consolation prize.