A dramatic finish to Puppy Bowl XVI saw Team Fluff regain the title.
A dramatic conclusion awaited viewers in the biggest canine sporting event of the entire year, Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XVI, as Team Fluff battled Team Ruff at GEICO Stadium for pawsession of the Chewy Lombarky Trophy.
The action started before the opening kickoff, actually, as Filbert, a deaf Border Collie/Shetland Sheepdog mix from the Double J Dog Ranch in Hauser Lake, Idaho, was traded to the Ruffers less than half an hour before the game began.
Team Ruff started out firing on all cylinders as Cafecito, a Chinese Crested/Yorkie mix from the Miami area, raced 100 yards downfield for the game’s opening score, with an assist from his teammate Pip the Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
The first of many penalties was then incurred by Ruff’s Chihuahua/Doxie Brody for a neutral bone infraction. Ruff’s Linus and Fluff’s Wilbur were also penalized in the first quarter for excessive cuteness (self-benching) and evading the rufferee, respectively.
Team Fluff’s Bert, a Great Pyrenees/Weimaraner mix who was the first overall pick in the inaugural Puppy Bowl Draft, huddled up with his teammates and they pulled off a 50 yard bootleg run into the end zone to tie the game, then Wilbur put the Fluffers ahead 14-7 from about 20 yards away.
After the first of the Subaru Pup Close and Personal segments, where comedian Whitney Cummings evaluated several potential players, Cafecito then dashed 85 yards, evading a tackle attempt from Theodore the Pomeranian, to tie the game up at 14-all.
In the second quarter, Bert picked up his own fumble during a 50 yard scamper to put Team Fluff back on top 21-14, while his teammate Granny Smith got involved in several barking and wrestling matches with Ruff’s Kenny and Gina.
Gina, a Chow Chow/Labrador mix from New Jersey, then got her revenge on the field, using a spin fakeout move to then go 85 yards for a touchdown.
Fluff’s Rooster, a French Bulldog mix, then bounced through defenders to find the end zone, and through some pawfect teamwork, Fluff’s ACD/Lab Anise distracted the other team with her adorability, which allowed Max to scoot into the end zone.
After an illegal paws to the face penalty was assessed to Lulu, Gina used the spin-and-hide technique of her much larger teammate Sparkle as a shield, then bolted into the end zone from 15 yards away, cutting the Fluff lead to 35-28.
Team Ruff’s Toy Poodle/MinPin Strudel then tied the game up just before Puppy Bowl XVI hit halftime with a 50 yard touchdown.
During the second quarter, the Pup Close and Personal segments explained how Rummy came from the US Virgin Islands and Canadian dog Lucca was helped by HGTV’s Property Brothers to find her forever home.
During the Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal Litter Kitty Halftime Show, feline singing sensations Jennipurr Lopez and Cat-ira wowed the crowd with their disco-light-themed perfurmance of “Catnips Don’t Lie.”
Once the third quarter of Puppy Bowl XVI opened, Ruff’s Rottweiler/Staffy mix Goldie was called for an illegal dogcollar tackle, and to add insult to injury, Fluff’s BC/Lab Papaya scored after she stole the rufferee’s flag.
Following the example of Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, Team Ruff’s Mocha, an ACD/Blue Lacy mix, lost her bandanna during a tricky spin-dash move, but was successful re-tying the game at 42-42..
Fluff’s Boxer/Staffy Kingery barked back with a touchdown of his own, putting Team Fluff ahead 49-42, but Mocha then booted a field goal from two yards away to make the close the gap to 49-45 after three quarters.
Viewers also saw a Pup Close and Personal with Sol, a former street dog from Cartagena, Columbia, in addition to another segment about FIlbert’s life at the Double J Dog Ranch. Finally, Team Ruff’s Betty the Bulldog incurred a penalty for excessive slumbering.
In the final Pup Close and Personal segments, Aspen the Australian Cattle Dog/Cocker Spaniel mix from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue in Colorado got to go on her first hike with Instagram celebrity Finn (@KeepingFinn), while Maverick got to check out the Dog Day event at the Norfolk Botanical Garden. in Virginia.
Back on the field at Puppy Bowl XVI, Team Fluff’s Sadie paired up with her teammate Salisbury to do the famous Do-Si-Do and Go play, which resulted in an impressive touchdown.
Not to be outdone, Team Ruff’s Alaskan Malamute mix Lee then scored with the underutilized pancake toy from five yards away to trim the gap to 56-52 with about twenty seconds to play.
That’s when Ruff’s Crumpet put her team ahead with a short touchdown, only to be immediately followed by Fluff’s German Shepherd/Samoyed Rocky Road just as time expired, giving Team Fluff the dramatic 63-59 victory.
Twitter users voted Gina the Bissell MVP (Most Valuable Puppy) of the telecast, which wrapped pup with a touching montage of the players and their families. For more on how you can help local animal shelters in your area, see Animal Planet’s website.
Stay tuned to Dog O’Day for more Puppy Bowl XVI analysis and Super Bowl LIV stuff throughout the night, and if you’re interested in covering canine sports, entertainment and lifestyle with us, the application process to join our pack begins here.