Puppy Bowl’s fetching players make for ruff-est competition of the weekend

Julian Bombard, Staff Reporter

 

Daisy Rymer | Sports Layout Editor

For the 15th consecutive year, the Puppy Bowl, humorously named Puppy Bowl XV, aired concurrently with the Super Bowl on Sunday. Puppies from 51 different shelters across 23 states were invited to the Bowl, where they were split into two teams, “Ruff” and “Fluff.”

These puppies travel from far and wide for a chance to participate. As the dogs play in a mock stadium with toys and other objects, hours of footage are captured and edited into touchdowns, tackles and other football scenarios.

The Puppy Bowl creates a fun viewing event for those who are not interested in football, and it also provides a bright future for the sheltered puppies. So far, 100 percent of Puppy Bowl participants have been adopted in previous years.

This year, Team Ruff took home the “Lombarky Trophy,” ending a two-year streak of dominance by Team Fluff. The Team Ruff “Green Growlers” prevented a Fluff three-peat with a 59-51 victory. Ruff took a commanding 19-point lead after a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, but Fluff rallied behind a “double-touchdown” from Gallagher, a particularly large St. Bernard puppy. Leading by only five points, Team Ruff was able to seal the game with a field goal from Hank, a labradoodle from Pennsylvania.

The MVP was awarded to a true underdog, a Lab/Chow Chow mix named Bumble who is both hearing and sight-impaired. The 20-week old puppy from Hauser Lake, Idaho came up huge with two field goals in the second half. An Australian Cattle dog named Emmitt also had a big game and was considered for the award after scoring two touchdowns in the first half.

In addition to the field action, the game includes a variety of side festivities. There are “mascots” and “cheerleaders,” portrayed groups of kangaroos, porcupines and a capybara celebrating between scoring plays. They also presented a “kiss cam” with videos of owners and their affectionate new puppies, and a kitten halftime show starring “Adam Feline and Purr-oon 5.”

The event has a history of creative promotional campaigns similar to the Super Bowl itself. Back in 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted a “training camp” for the puppies on the South Lawn of the White House. The late Harry Kallas, an NFL Films narrator and long-time Phillies announcer, served as the game’s narrator for the first five years.

Since its inception, the event’s popularity has risen tremendously, receiving 3.05 million viewers in 2018, up from just 150,000 viewers for the inaugural event in 2005.

This year, viewership was just short of setting an all-time Puppy Bowl record. Animal Planet, however, was successful in facilitating the adoption of every single participant in the 2019 game. And who doesn’t enjoy two hours of puppy videos?

If you missed the Puppy Bowl, don’t worry! It is available to stream for free on Animal Planet’s website.

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