Team Fluff has the best boys

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The energy of the pup was unleashed Sunday.

Team Fluff launched their internal hounds to win the coveted Lombarky Trophy at Puppy Bowl 2022.

Back for its 18th year, the massive sport for little canines returned to the turf Sunday at 2 p.m. on Animal Planet and Discovery+, simply earlier than the human 2022 Super Bowl.

“These are not trained puppies,” long-time Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner advised The Post. “These are dogs in their purest form.”

This year was the largest competitors but, with greater than 100 canines from 63 shelters in 33 states, together with a pup from Hawaii. This version additionally included the most particular wants canines the Bowl has ever featured.

There’s just one rule in Puppy Bowl: Drag a chew toy into the finish zone. Any different calls, Schachner stated, are made up on the fly. To keep away from complete chaos, solely a handful of pooches are launched to the turf at a time.

Wasabi (left), Birch (middle), and Emmylou (proper) a aim put up. Birch scored his staff’s first two touchdowns throughout the 2020 Puppy Bowl — some invaluable pooch materials.
Bright Road Productions

The star-studded spectacle bought began with a particular message from “coaches” Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, naturally, in addition to First Lady Jill Biden and Elmo and Tango.

Then Team Fluff bought off to a rollicking begin, with Chihuahua Birch scoring each the first and second touchdowns of the sport. The smallest pup in the Bowl, Birch was drafted from Ninna’s Road to Rescue in Louisiana, and was adopted on Thanksgiving Day to a household with 5 youngsters, two guinea pigs, a canine and a tree frog.

Team Ruff’s Ellington, a Siberian husky chow-chow combine, introduced Team Ruff again up with their first landing — solely to be thwarted by one other landing from Team Fluff, this time from Chorizo, a dachshund and American Staffordshire terrier combine, at the finish of the first quarter.

Chorizo (left) faces off with Moby (proper) in the finish zone whereas holing a toy in his mouth.
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Ellington (left) chasing Chorizo (proper) on the discipline.
Bright Road Productions

Moby, a French bulldog, then swooped in with a discipline aim for Team Ruff.

Then, Team Ruff’s Lulu, a fluffy Shih Tzu and Pomeranian combine, closed in the sport’s hole, bringing the rating to an in depth 21-17 midway by way of the second quarter. Ruff’s Bimini, a beagle and Australian cattle canine combine, went lengthy into landing glory. Ruff took the lead.

Fluff fought proper again because of Kirby, a Labrador retriever who’s enrolled in a pup-in-training program that companions with America’s VetDogs, a New York-based non-profit that gives service canines totally free to veterans and first responders with disabilities.

Kirby scored a clutch landing for staff Fluff in the second quarter. While he lives with a volunteer puppy-raiser, he repeatedly attends dwelling video games and trains in the NRG stadium to be the best, well-socialized pup round.
Bright Road Productions

Things bought a bit of tough between Fluff’s Baxter and Ruff’s Ted D. Bear — who bought a penalty and fumbled earlier than occurring to attain a TD at the finish of the first half. Bear’s massive second introduced the rating to 28-31 Fluff as the kitty cheerleaders took the discipline for a rousing halftime present — lasers included, after all.

The massive canines took the discipline — with massive canine strikes besides. Penalty flags flew, with a two-paw punch from Ruff’s Scout and a rumbling tumble from Fluff’s Sky. Scout bought pegged with a “terrier-izing” the referee penalty. Woof!

But go away it to Fluff’s Benny, a wheelchair-bound poodle who was born along with his vertebrae fused collectively, to carry all the pups again to business.

Benny on the discipline.
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Pongo sitting on the discipline, trying up.
Bright Road Productions

Ted D. Bear then helped Ruff take the lead at the finish of the third quarter. Mr. Bear pounce-flip-sprinted his strategy to his third landing of the sport.

Hearing impaired Dalmatian Pongo blocked Fluff’s Kali to maintain the sport paw-some for Team Ruff. But there was no stopping very invaluable pup Kirby who bow-wowed followers with a double landing for Fluff heading into the fourth quarter.

After a powerful sequence of rolls down the discipline, little Chorizo introduced the rating for Team Fluff to a powerful 59-48. But go away it to beagle/chow chow combine Odell Barkham to be the comeback pup for Ruff, bringing the rating nail-bitingly shut for paws in every single place.

After New York native Wasabi was nailed with a penalty for “invasive sniffing” (and a hearty pup-talk from Elmo), he introduced Fluff as much as 66 factors, serving to the staff keep their fortunate lead, even with a landing from Ruff’s Banjo, an American pit bull terrier and American Staffordshire terrier combine.

In the finish, Ruff couldn’t keep their streak from final year, with Fluff claiming the trophy at 73-69 — thanks partially to their official Most Valuable Pup, Kirby.

Surf (left) and Emmylou (proper) taking part in with a toy.
Bright Road Productions

But other than being a chewable football-alternative, the annual pet palooza serves a bigger paw-pose: to seek out these furry mates a perpetually household. In truth, the Puppy Bowl has all the time had a 100% adoption rate.

At the shelters offering the playful pooches, adoption charges additionally improve after Puppy Bowl each year, he added.

“Every Puppy Bowl ends with every single dog being adopted,” Schachner, who has refereed the massive sport for 11 years, stated. “Our goal is to showcase as wide of a variety as possible.”

Moby (left), Chorizo (middle), and Ellington (proper) taking part in with toys on the discipline.
Bright Road Productions
Emily (left) and Dinozzo (proper) standing on the discipline.
Bright Road Productions