A Tail of the Underdogs


Photo courtesy of http://www.tvovermind.com/tv-news/what-time-is-the-puppy-bowl-this-year

The Puppy Bowl aired its twelfth annual game earlier this month

Claire Kuwana, Sentry Staff Reporter

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched events of every year. However, what a lot of people do not know is that there is another just as, if not more, important sporting event occurring right before the big game. This is the Puppy Bowl, an annual football game between two teams whose rosters are filled with puppies. The dogs, all of whom are from shelters, wear colored bandanas depicting which team they are on and play in a mini-stadium littered with toys. In order to score a touchdown, a dog must drag one of the many toys into the endzone.

Since the Puppy Bowl’s establishment in 2005, over 600 shelter dogs have participated in this event. This past year, over 80 dogs traveled from 44 different shelters in 25 different states as far as California and Puerto Rico to compete in the intense matchup between Team Ruff and Team Fluff.  Of these 80 dogs, 49 of them are part of the “starting lineup”– they are in the running for Most Valuable Puppy (MVP).

Out of all 49 dogs, the clear winner this year was Star, a 20 week old Chow Chow/Labrador mix who surely lived up to her name. She helped lead Team Ruff to a 70-44 victory over Team Fluff. All eyes were on her after she scored a historic double touchdown, even despite her team getting caught with a deflated football toy just minutes before. During this play, Star and another dog simultaneously scored separate touchdowns.

When it comes to making historic plays, Star was not alone on Team Ruff. Timber, Team Ruff’s wide retriever, and teammate Ranger carried a toy across the endzone line together to score the first joint touchdown in Puppy Bowl history.  By the end of the first half, Timber, Star, Ranger and the rest of Team Ruff were winning the game 28-3. Leah, a Rottweiler, attempted to win back the lead for Team Fluff; however, her two touchdowns did not even phase Team Ruff. Timber immediately came back and by the start of the fourth quarter, Team Ruff was leading again 63-30. After that, Team Fluff never succeeded in bouncing back, especially after one of their team members had an accident on the field.

And for those who may not be so much of a dog person, in addition to the exceptional dogs present at the Puppy Bowl, the event includes many other animals. There was, of course, the Kitty Halftime Show in which various kittens play with toys like lasers, scratching posts, yarn and lights for a little less than thirty minutes. When the action gets to be too rough, the “rufferee”, Stanley the skunk, may have to interrupt to get things back under control. All the while, Meep the cockatiel keeps the fans updated through twitter, tweeting live updates as the game goes on.

Again, all of the animals that participate in the Puppy Bowl are from shelters. However, because the event is pre-filmed, it is most likely that all of the pups will be adopted by the time it airs on television. In fact, at the end of the game, the puppies are lifted out of the stadium by their new owners. Nonetheless, the Puppy Bowl is still a great event that raises awareness for an amazing cause, reminds viewers of the countless dogs out there that need help and inspires people to consider rescuing a dog.