The 20th annual edition of the Puppy Bowl, which aired on Feb. 11, was broadcast on Animal Planet as an alternative to the Super Bowl. The Puppy Bowl features adorable puppies from animal shelters playing on a small football field and aims to raise awareness about pet adoption and promote the importance of animal welfare. The event includes playful competition, loads of commentary from the ref, and plenty of adorable puppies for viewers to enjoy.

flickr via Ken Lane

In Puppy Bowl 2024, Team Ruff and Team Fluff competed fiercely for the Lombarky Trophy. This year marked a milestone as the largest Puppy Bowl yet, boasting 131 adorable puppies from 73 shelters and rescues across 36 states and territories. Among the competitors were Sweetpea, the tiniest pup weighing just 1.7 pounds, and Levi the Great Dane, the largest at 70 pounds. The furry athletes scored touchdowns by dragging chew toys into the end zone. (In this competition, when dogs carry a toy across any goal line on the field-line-painted carpet, they score touchdowns.)

Dogs from diverse backgrounds showcased their skills, navigating penalties that are often hard to anticipate as the referee usually makes them up on the spot. Awards were presented for the Most Valuable Puppy and, new to this year, the Underdog Award celebrated the quieter contenders.  Moosh, hailing from Troy, VA, and representing Team Ruff, emerged as the official MVP for his outstanding performance on the field. And as always, there was a halftime show featuring cats to draw in other audiences.

Since its beginning in 2005, the Puppy Bowl has emphasized pet adoption, urging viewers to choose shelters or rescues over breeders. While most puppies find homes by airtime, the event underscores the availability of similar animals in shelters year-round.

In the end, Team Ruff emerged victorious over Team Fluff after a three-hour thrilling matchup, with a final score of 72-69. In a dramatic finish, Cookie, a charming Siberian Husky and Pitbull Terrier mix, secured the winning touchdown for Team Ruff in the closing seconds of the game. Tragically, Sweetpea, a beloved 1.7-pound Cavapoo, passed away shortly after the game due to a congenital kidney defect, so the game was dedicated to her short five-month-long life.