Puppy Bowl XVII Recap


Image by Elias Weiss Friedman

Team Fluff and Team Ruff members compete in tug-of-war during the game. Eventually the Team Ruff players are named the Puppy Bowl XVII champions.

Reilly Calvert, Rooster Reporter

Sure, the Super Bowl is an event to behold, garnering hype and millions of viewers each year, but why watch people play football when you can watch puppies play football? On Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, 70 puppies from 22 shelters were split into two teams to compete in the annual Super Bowl spin-off, the Puppy Bowl.

The event has several puppies playing in a small, dog-sized football stadium, competing for “touchdowns” with toys to hopefully win the Lombarky trophy for their team. The pups wear bandanas with their team colors, this year Team Fluff’s was blue and Team Ruff’s was orange. Each team also has animal cheerleaders who react away from the field.

This year, the game was hosted by Snoop Dogg and Martha Stuart. It was led by ESPN’s Monday Night Football announcer Steve Levy, joined by Sportscenter host Sage Steele, and other animal advocates participated as well, including Kristen Bell, Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldblum. Dan Schachner participated as “rufferee” for his 10th year in a row.

In the 17th Puppy Bowl this year, Team Ruff barely bounced back and managed to defeat Team Fluff with under a minute left in the game. Lagging behind by three points, the victory was thanks to Team Ruff’s Paulie, an American Staffordshire terrier and Dutch Shepherd mix, who scored a touchdown that pushed her team to the lead in the game’s final seconds.

The game started off a little chaotically, when Team Ruff’s Archer, an American Staffordshire Terrier, received a penalty for “illegal use of the goal posts” after he ripped off the goal post of the other team.

Following this, the first touchdown was scored by Team Ruff’s Muffin, a terrier mix, after being tackled by Team Fluff’s Marshall. Marshall, a hearing-impaired terrier, is currently training to become a support dog for a front-line COVID-19 nurse, and also received the title of “Most Valuable Pup” this year.

During the first quarter, Chunky Monkey, a Chow Chow mix from Team Fluff, got a penalty for “excessive slumber” due to heading onto the field and immediately falling asleep on the sidelines. Her relatable napping earned her adoration on social media.

The half-time show allowed the pups to catch their breath and prepare for the rest of the game while the viewers enjoyed the antics of kittens playing and roaming around, presided over by DJ Grand Master Scratch.

During the final quarter, Jett, a two-legged dog, scored a touchdown for Team Fluff. After continued back-and-forth and tug-of-war, Muffin brought the score up to 66-69 in Team Ruff’s favor, and Team Ruff was able to take home the 2021 Puppy Bowl trophy.

The event featured First Lady Jill Biden, alongside her German shepherds, Champ and Major, in a public service announcement about adopting dogs and staying safe during the pandemic. Her dog Major is the first shelter pet to live in the White House.

The Puppy Bowl is more than just fun and games, as it also advocates for animal adoption and helps its furry participants find forever homes. For the past 16 games, all of the puppies and kittens featured ended up being adopted after the show airs. According to Animal Planet, 70 families brought home their adopted pets this year, so at the end of the day, all the puppies are really winners.