Puppy Bowl XVII: Team Ruff wins the matchup of adorable, adoptable pups and dogs in dramatic fashion

Published: February 8, 2021 6:21 AM EST
Updated: February 8, 2021 8:53 AM EST
The Puppy Bowl. Credit: DIA

It was a rough match for Team Fluff: Team Ruff defeated their opponents in the 17th annual Puppy Bowl on Sunday with a dramatic comeback. This year’s game featured 70 puppies from 22 shelters that were split up into two teams to compete for “touchdowns” in a canine-sized football stadium.

Hosted by Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart, the game got off to a wild start with Team Ruff’s Archer, an American Staffordshire Terrier, receiving a penalty for “illegal use of the goal posts” for ripping off the goal post of the opposing team.

Despite the rocky start, Ruff’s Muffin, a terrier mix, made the first touchdown for the team after an impressive tackle from hearing-impaired terrier Marshall, who’s training to be a support dog for frontline workers of the COVID pandemic.

The dogs were able to catch their breath during the halftime show, performed by a stimulated band of cats, with the help of DJ Grand Master Scratch on the turntables.

In the final quarter, Jett, a two-legged lab with his own wheeled cart, scored a touchdown for Team Fluff.

After much back and forth with both teams scoring multiple touchdowns, Team Ruff’s Muffin scored another one for the team, bringing the score up to 66-69 with less than a minute left in the game.

With the team only three points behind, Team Ruff’s Big Boss Paulie, an American Staffordshire Terrier and Dutch Shepherd mix, jolted for a touchdown before the clock ran out in the paw-biting game. After back-to-back wins from Team Fluff in years past, Team Ruff defeated Team Fluff by a final score of 73-69 to win the Puppy Bowl XVII. Marshall was awarded the title of MVP of the game.

For the past 16 events, every puppy and kitten featured in the Puppy Bowl is adopted after the show airs. Seventy families were able to bring home their adopted pets after this year’s game, according to Animal Planet.

Sunday’s event also featured First Lady Jill Biden, who delivered a PSA on adopting dogs and wearing masks amid the pandemic. It featured the Bidens’ two German shepherds, Champ and Major — the first shelter pet to live in the White House.