Dog Bowl III: Goldies win at the last minute 31-28

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Cleveland Browns mascot Swagger in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 07: Cleveland Browns mascot Swagger in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Team Goldies won Dog Bowl III in thrilling fashion for the second year in a row.

For the second year in a row, Team Goldies won the Lombarky Trophy at GEICO Stadium after claiming victory in the biggest sporting event of the year for rescue dogs, Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl III, the precursor to Puppy Bowl XVI.

Like their younger counterparts, the Dog Bowl players were wearing new team color bandannas this year, trading in the black and yellow gold for orange (Goldies) and a sky blue (Oldies).

With NFL Films’ Scott Graham doing the play-by-play and TV personality Jill Rappaport acting as sideline reporter, the game started off with a bang as Hitch, a New York City JRT mix from PupStarz Rescue, scored a 10 yard touchdown using a fuzzy orange football to give the Goldies a 7-0 lead.

Not to be outdone, Lulu, the Oldies’ 5-year-old deaf Australian Cattle Dog/Border Collie mix from the Double J Dog Ranch in Hauser Lake, Idaho, grabbed the fuzzy blue tennis ball and galloped 70 yards in the end zone to tie the game up.

During the first several Subaru A Dog’s Life segments, viewers watched as the Oldies’ Little Ricky the Chihuahua rehearsed for his role of Bruiser in the musical version of Legally Blonde on Broadway.

Audiences also met Sir Darius Brown, a New Jersey teenager who creates bowties for dogs with his business Beaux and Paws to help rescue dogs throughout the country. He helped Shih Tzu mix Gus train for the big game.

Finally, several cast members of the Animal Planet series Pit Bulls and Parolees checked in, with several of their pups playing in the games.

When the second quarter began, 4-year-old Husky mix Avalon, from Rescue City NYC, scooped up a fumble of the knobby blue ball inside the 5-yard line and put the Goldies back on top 14-7.

But on the ensuing kickoff return, Lulu rocketed the length of the field to knot the score up again.

Other second-quarter action included the Oldies’ Sally the Pomeranian getting the game’s only penalty, for a 5-yarder for excessive cuteness, and Pit Bull mix Hunter, from Villalobos Rescue in New Orleans, giving the Goldies a 21-14 halftime advantage after taking the football rope 20 yards to paydirt.

During halftime of Dog Bowl III, viewers learned about the Adoptathon Festival in Greenwich, Connecticut, and watched as several dogs got makeovers. Audiences also were introduced to the Nashville-area Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary, where dedicated senior citizens and senior doggos help each other stay forever young at heart.

In the third quarter, following an impressive run-up to the ball, Gus booted a field goal form about 7 yards out, upping the Goldies’ edge to 24-14.

Another Nashville charity, founded by country music legend Emmylou Harris, was featured next as Crossroads Campus not only helps canines in need, but also young adults who have aged out of the foster system.

Back on the field, Lulu scored yet again, this time from about 45 yards away to trim the Goldies’ lead to 24-21, where it stayed until the end of the third quarter.

Before the fourth quarter began, the inaugural class of the Dog Bowl Hall of Fame were introduced, wearing special gold bandannas to mark the occasion, as Snowball the Chi/Pom from Dog Bowl I and Sherman the 13-year-old Dachshund and Carly the 17-year-old miniature Poodle, both from Dog Bowl II, were inducted.

With some blocking help from her teammates, Lulu put the Oldies ahead 28-24 in the fourth quarter following her fourth (!!!) touchdown of the night, a 65 yarder. All four of her touchdowns came with the fuzzy blue tennis ball, incidentally.

But the Goldies had one last shot to regain the lead, and Teddy the Pembroke Welsh Corgi took it, zooming 100 yards down the field to seal the win with a Dog Bowl III final score of Goldies 31, Oldies 28, which earned his team the Chewy Lombarky Trophy for the second year in a row.

Winning the Subaru Dawdle of the Day was Buddy, a hound mix, while Twitter users voted Hunter this year’s Milk-Bone MVP (Most Valuable Pooch). Claiming the first-ever Super Senior Award was 14-year-old Princess the Golden Retriever mix. (That’s about 85 in dog years.)

The broadcast wrapped up with a terrific montage of the players with their new families.

Next. Why dog lovers should cheer for the Super Bowl 54 teams. dark

Stay tuned tomorrow for Puppy Bowl XVI, which will feature going Team Fluff against Team Ruff at 3 p.m. ET. For more information about how you can help your local animal shelter, see Animal Planet’s website for more details.