May 18, 2024

Bowlingual Dog

Animal Planet Directory

Team Fluff takes top dog

Team Fluff unleashed its athleticism to claim the title of ultimate Puppy Bowl 2023 champs.

The furry favorites beat out Team Ruff to be awarded the Lombarky Trophy Sunday evening after the 19th Annual Puppy Bowl game. This historic match-up made history after the two teams headed into overtime for the fur-st time ever — with the final score coming in at 87-83.

This year’s competition — which kicked off Sunday afternoon on Animal Planet, TBS and HBO Max via livestream on Discovery+ — was the largest yet, with over 120 pups going snout-to-snout for the prize. Pomeranian Pickle was crowned as the game’s MVP.

After only keeping track of the score the last six years of Puppy Bowl, the two teams (Fluff in the blue kerchiefs, Ruff in the orange) were all tied up three-to-three – historically speaking.

But the real winners didn’t just take home gold – they scored a potential forever home.

“Because we’re playing a game, we’re having fun, we’re getting the message out about adoption,” referee Dan Schachner told The Post, adding that the bowl game has a 100% adoption rate every year.


Pickle was crowned MVP at the 2023 Puppy Bowl.
When getting scolded for the foul play, MVP Pickle shushed the ref with a single paw.
ANIMAL PLANET

Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner said that the event reaches 100% adoption rate every year while on air.
Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner said that the event reaches 100% adoption rate every year while on air.
ANIMAL PLANET

A mini-football field filled with puppies.
Puppy players who participate in the annual event held before the Super Bowl are adoptable shelter dogs.
ANIMAL PLANET

“But the real drive here, the real win, the real championship is these guys having a forever home and not languishing in a shelter forever,” he added.

There’s only one rule in Puppy Bowl: they have to drag a chew toy into the End Zone in order to score. Only a handful of the dogs are allowed on the field at a time.

Throughout the game, pups were flagged for a number of fouls – while some were a play on words in tandem with the NFL’s terminology, others are simply made up on the fly. “Turd on the 20,” for example, is something only these untrained pups could be fouled for – or so we hope.

“We try to find new ones that are applied to dogs,” Schachner said. “It’s all about trying to be creative with the penalties that exist in the NFL and apply them to dogs.”

Team Fluff got off to a roaring start, with powerhouse Pomeranian Pickle stealing the show by scoring the team’s first two touchdowns, taking the first toy all the way into the end zone and into the tunnel. He ran for over 300 yards without an interference in the first touchdown!


"It's going to be puppies being as wild and crazy and lovable as you would imagine they would be," said referee Dan Schachner. 
“It’s going to be puppies being as wild and crazy and lovable as you would imagine they would be,” said referee Dan Schachner. 
ANIMAL PLANET

Inya, NAGI Foundation (Salt River Indian Community)
Inya, NAGI Foundation (Salt River Indian Community), stole the show.
Elias Weiss Friedman

It was a real nail-biter as DaVinci, a Poodle/Labrador Retriever, scored Team Ruff’s first touchdown of the game, setting the score 14-7. He may have given Team Ruff some hope, but at the end of the first quarter, Team Fluff was in the lead yet again, with Beagle/Pomeranian/Australian Cattle Dog Wolfie scoring a touchdown, putting them ahead 21-7. Woof!

DaVinci came back swinging–literally–in the beginning of the second quarter, scoring another touchdown for Team Ruff. Little Mighty, an American Pit Bull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier, took his cue from his teammate and touched down big time again, putting the game in a tie halfway through the second quarter.


puppy bowl

A battle then ensued between mixed-bread Espresso and Kokobean, an American Pitbull Terrier mix, with Espresso snagging the toy from her opponent, but ultimately dropping it. She bounced back quickly, taking it 70 yards across the field and winning more points for Team Fluff.

However, it looks like Espresso came down with a case of fumble-itis, as Kokobean scored for Team Ruff — but that didn’t last for long, with Poodle-mix Penelope scoring for Team Fluff yet again.

Vivianne, a Siberian Husky/Rottweiler/Neapolitan Mastiff, shocked the crowd as she put her paw through the hoop of her chew toy in the midst of scoring a touchdown, and led Team Fluff to yet another victory ahead of the Kitty Halftime Show–which featured DJ’s and UFO’s, of course.


Dog pulling on bandana of other dog
The tiny but mighty Pomeranian was busted for pulling on the competition’s bandana.
ANIMAL PLANET

A puppy sitting.
Some of the puppies are hearing or vision impaired while others are missing left or have a cleft palate.
ANIMAL PLANET

Tensions remained high between the two teams as the third quarter kicked off, as Ruff’s Shiba Inu Bandit and Fluff’s Shiba Inu Rascal tore each other up on the field. Rascal made the first touchdown for Team Fluff, extending their lead to 49-28.

A timeout was called in time for a water break for Fluff’s Boston Terrier Cooper, a Seattle local who was actually invited to the Seattle Seahawk’s training facility! The Seattle Seahawks worked with Cooper’s shelter for their day of service. And it looks like his all-star training paid off, as he scored another touchdown for his team.

Late in the third, American Foxhound and German Shepherd mix Moose got the juice, giving Team Ruff a few more points, but it was Vivianne who ultimately scored another touchdown for Fluff.


Puppy Bowl 2023
Paola Morrongiello

Before viewers knew it, the fourth quarter was well underway, with Wolfie making his second touchdown of the game for Team Fluff. Josh Allenhound, a mix from Buffalo, played some great defense, but it was mix-breed Roland ultimately scored two touchdowns for team Ruff, and American Pit Bull Terrier/American Staffordshire Terrier Pascal making a smooth, 99-yard run, narrowing the score 73-70, Team Ruff.

In a race to the furry finish line, they headed into overtime over a double touchdown made by Kokobean and Espresso, as they clutched the same toy! In the end, the game was close–but Vivianne ultimately made the winning touchdown for Team Fluff at 87-83.

Meet Team Fluff

Asiago


Asiago from Tri-State Bassett Hound Rescue in New Jersey
Asiago from Tri-State Bassett Hound Rescue in Pennsville, New Jersey.

This Bassett Hound had the masses cheesing throughout the show.

Asiago — whose original name was Duke before he was surrendered by his original owner — has found his forever home. In his new family, Asiago is one of three “cheese boys,” along with his adopted siblings Parmesan and Reggiano.

Despite his sweet nature, the hound, from Tri-State Bassett Hound Rescue in Pennsville, New Jersey, was ready to take down the competition as a member of Team Fluff.

Marshmallow


Marshmallow from Aheinz57 Pet Rescue in DeSoto, Iowa
Marshmallow from Aheinz57 Pet Rescue in DeSoto, Iowa

One of five siblings that were surrendered by their owner, Marshmallow has been at Aheinz57 Pet Rescue in DeSoto, Iowa. At the time, they were living in a horse stall, “scared and unsocialized” and “filthy,” but thankfully turned out to be the sweetest dogs.

Marshmallow is a Great Pyrenees Australian Cattle Dog who is described as playful and “full of energy.” He’s a total lovebug — getting along with any pup he meets — and has been already adopted by a family, who have a 2-year-old whom he loves to protect.

Bacon & Eggs


Bacon from Blue Water Area Humane Society in Clyde, MI
Bacon from Blue Water Area Humane Society in Clyde, Michigan.

Eggs from Blue Water Area Humane Society in Clyde, MI
Eggs from Blue Water Area Humane Society in Clyde, Michigan.

They’re an egg-cellent pair.

Bacon and Eggs arrived together on the doorstep of the Blue Water Area Humane Society in Clyde, Michigan. The Border Collie Chow Chow mixes were so young at the time, they were too little to be away from their mama. Thankfully, the staff nursed them with extra care and attention, and they’ve grown up to be sweet, playful pups who are “very smart.”

Majesty, Florida Little Dog
Majesty, Florida Little Dog.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Cooper, Seattle Humane
Cooper, Seattle Humane.
Elias Weiss Friedman


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Josh Allenhound, Buddy's Second Chance Rescue
Josh Allenhound, Buddy’s Second Chance Rescue.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Marmalade, Double J Dog Ranch
Marmalade, Double J Dog Ranch.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Rascal, Miami-Dade County Animal Services
Rascal, Miami-Dade County Animal Services.
Elias Weiss Friedman


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Tailen Hurts, Brandywine Valley SPCA
Tailen Hurts, Brandywine Valley SPCA.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Inya, NAGI Foundation (Salt River Indian Community)
Inya, NAGI Foundation (Salt River Indian Community), stole the show.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Twinkle, Lucky Dog Refuge
Twinkle, Lucky Dog Refuge.
Elias Weiss Friedman


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Blizzard, AHeinz57 Pet Rescue
Blizzard, AHeinz57 Pet Rescue.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Wolfie, Charlie's Crusaders Pet Rescue
Wolfie, Charlie’s Crusaders Pet Rescue.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Clover, Rescue Dogs Rock NYC
Clover, Rescue Dogs Rock NYC.
Elias Weiss Friedman


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Ivan, The Sato Project
Ivan, The Sato Project.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Stardust, Danbury Animal Welfare Society.
Stardust, Danbury Animal Welfare Society.
Elias Weiss Friedman

Cheeky Tinker, Green Dogs Unleashed
Cheeky Tinker, Green Dogs Unleashed.
Elias Weiss Friedman


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How to adopt a Puppy Bowl player

If you would like to take a player home with you, you can do so through the event’s website. Throughout the broadcast, 11 shelters will also show off one of their puppies available for adoption during the big game.

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