Put your paws together for Puppy Bowl XVII


Courtesy of Animal Planet

70 puppies participated in Animal Planet’s 17th annual Puppy Bowl.

Emily Dvareckas, Photo Editor

Often overshadowed by the bigger Bowl of the day, the Puppy Bowl offers an entertaining sporting event filled with dogs, dogs and more dogs. This year was the 17th annual Puppy Bowl that aired on Animal Planet as well as a live stream via the new streaming service, Discovery+. This year saw Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg as the hosts as well as the coaches with Stewart representing Team Ruff and Dogg representing Team Fluff.

The two teams were playing for the coveted Chewy Lombarky Trophy. Team Fluff came into the stadium ready to defend their title after winning last year’s Puppy Bowl. ESPN’s Steve Levy and Sage Steele provided commentary and Dan the “Ruff” was on the field as the referee. Meep the Bird provided live updates on Twitter.

Animal Planet’s annual Puppy Bowl does not only provide an entertaining and adorable precursor to the Super Bowl, but it also leads to the adoption of the players. Each player, cheerleader and halftime performer are cats and dogs from animal shelters across the country. After every Puppy Bowl, there has been a 100% adoption rate. This year’s Puppy Bowl had 70 puppies all hoping their appearances on national television will lead to their adoptions. Five of the 70 dogs have special needs and four are hearing impaired.

Team Ruff acquired the first touchdown of the game after Muffin ran the toy into the end zone. While Team Ruff celebrated their touchdown, Team Fluff’s Chunky Monkey received a penalty for excessive slumbering. In the second lineup, viewers met Gus from Team Ruff. Gus may have stayed out of the action by staying in the end zone, but he was not out of the contest for the Underdog Award.

Team Fluff did not allow Team Ruff to keep its lead for long after getting a double touchdown led by Marshall. Soon after, Team Ruff’s Paulie had his eyes set on a touchdown to tie up the game but was met with defense from Team Fluff’s Milky Way.

Milky Way did not give up on defense and eventually took the offense as she kept a hold on the toy until she was able to land a touchdown in the end zone, which added seven points to Team Fluff’s lead. Paulie didn’t let Milky Way’s touchdown get him down as he quickly gained possession and found a clear route into the end zone. The first quarter ended with Team Fluff at 21 points and Team Ruff at 14 points.

The second quarter started with a touchdown by Team Ruff’s Hashbrown, tying the game at 21-21. Taking back the lead, Team Fluff’s Sonic saw an opportunity to run in for a touchdown as Team Ruff’s defense was distracted by Sonic’s teammates making the score 28-21. Team Fluff increased the score to 35-21 after Fluff’s defense held Team Ruff back so Beliveau was able to run into the end zone without any interference.

After a little back and forth between two hearing-impaired players, Team Ruff’s Fletcher was able to grab the toy from Team Fluff leading to a touchdown, bringing the score to 35-28. Team Fluff’s Erica was seen inches away from the tussle but couldn’t be bothered as she remained lying down in the corner. Her chill demeanor led to a position among the contenders for the Underdog Award. After two fumbles and subsequent recoveries, Team Ruff was able to kick the toy, leading to a field goal and ending the first half with a score of 35-31.

The halftime show consisted of adorable and adoptable kittens taking to the field to show off their impressive moves against all kinds of toys. DJ Grand Master Scratch came to the field as a special guest and provided music as the kittens played.

The third quarter started off slow until Team Ruff took the lead after Dwight made a much-needed touchdown bringing the score to 35-38. Not long after, Team Fluff’s Beliveau got his second touchdown and brought the score to 42-38 which helped Team Fluff get its lead back. After a back and forth defense against Team Ruff’s Argos, Team Fluff’s Mary Anne got her paws on the toy and landed a touchdown increasing Team Fluff’s lead to 49-38.

Team Fluff gained even more of a lead after Bingo kicked a field goal and brought the score to 52-38. After narrowly escaping the defense played by Team Fluff’s Aaron Pawdgers, Team Ruff’s Paulie scored another touchdown to make the score 52-45. Beliveau ended the third quarter with a touchdown for Team Fluff making the score 59-45.

The fourth quarter began with a fumble from Team Ruff which was recovered by Team Fluff’s Jay who went on to pass the ball to his two-legged teammate, Jet. Jet was able to catch Jay’s throw and kick the ball into the end zone for a field goal increasing Fluff’s lead to 62-45. Team Ruff’s Tank was able to make a catch at the 40-yard line and run it in for a touchdown, helping to decrease Fluff’s lead for a score of 62-52.

Beliveau began a play surrounded by three of Team Ruff’s players, but he was able to grab a toy and shake off the defense landing him into the end zone for a touchdown. In the next play, Team Ruff’s Tank quickly got a paw on the toy and ran into the touchdown. After the two touchdowns, the score was 69-59.

In a bid to win the game in the last two minutes, Muffin fought off her own teammate who tried to steal the toy and made it into the touchdown for Team Ruff making it a three point game. With 30 seconds left, Team Ruff sent in MVP contender Paulie to get the last possession. At 15 seconds, he was five yards away from the end zone when he was forced away by Team Fluff’s Milky Way. He didn’t let this stop him. As the clock ticked down, Paulie found his way into the end zone with just seconds on the clock. With that touchdown, Team Ruff won the Puppy Bowl with a final score of 73-69, taking the title away from Team Fluff and going home with the Chewy Lombarky Trophy.

The end of the game was followed by awards. For the Drive of the Day, Team Ruff’s Tank took the win. The Underdog Award was given to Erica and the biggest award, the MVP award, went to Marshall.