All The Best Highlights From Puppy Bowl XIII

By Travis Greenwood

Another year, another Super Sunday.

Which is fab if you love sportsball, overhyped commercials everyone will immediately forget about, and famous pop stars teaming up with slightly less famous publicity hounds for extended medleys and elaborate dance routines.

Left shark jumps the shark at Super Bowl 49
credit: NFL

But if your weekend television habits trend more dalmatian than defensive tackle, more English setter than end zone, and more water bowl than Super Bowl, then today is also the day for a most glorious and tail-wagging diversion: Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl XIII!

Over the last 13 years, the canine competition has clawed its way from jokey time-filler to a big bone in its own right โ€” 2016's edition fetched a whopping 10.4 million viewers (!!!), a figure the show's producers hope no doubt to nose in front of if at all pawssible (soz, not soz).

While we'll have to wait a day or two for the final ratings to roll over, we already know that this year's tilt between Team Ruff and Team Fluff was an off-the-chain win for both squads because all of the participants were sourced from shelters around America and will be rehomed with new forever hoomans after the big game.

Collected below then for your perusing: All of the best highlights from Puppy Bowl XIII!

Adorned in Team Ruff and Team Fluff handkerchiefs, patriotic pups take the field for the national anthem.

After the starting lineups are revealed, Puppy Bowl XIII opens not with a whimper but a bark: Rory, a poodle mix, gets off his defender's leash and takes it to the (dog) house for the game's first score. Team Fluff goes up 7-0 and the fans at home are yipping it up.

The underdogs strike back: Puddles, a cuddly shih-tzu, shakes her defender with a dash to the end zone. We're even at 7 points apiece.

It's a shootout. Dawson dances his way along the sideline after getting sprung free by a nice block from one his Team Fluff teammates. 21-7, Team Fluff.

Rory, an early candidate for MVP (Most Valuable Pupper, because of course), runs the length of the gridiron for his THIRD score of the game. It's 28-7, Team Fluff. Can Team Ruff recover from this 21-point spread?

PLOT TWIST: Daisy the chihuahua pawses her defender with a nice head fake and threads her way through to a touchdown to make 28-14!

We have a penalty on the field. After stealing hearts with her cuteness, Nikita, a Bichon Friese mix, steals the ref's yellow flag and scrambles into the end zone, which announcers note is an important and historic Puppy Bowl first.

For an encore, she follows that up with a field goal, pushing Team Fluff's margin to 38-17.

HUGE cheers for the first appearance of Lucky, a tri-pawed terrier that plays the wide-retriever position. The breaking sound you hear right now are a million hearts across America crumbling under the weight of cuteness overload.

Scoring for the 3rd time because she's a big boss, Nikita makes it 45-17.

Daisy finds the end zone again with a dogged mix of "speed and tenacity." Team Ruff edges closer and the score is now 45-24.

Team Ruff isn't going down without a fight: Another run by Daisy makes it pup close and personal at 45-31.

Nikita puts more points on the board right before halftime. It's now 52-31.

With Team Ruff and Team Fluff retreating to their respective locker rooms for a breather and pep talk, Kitty Gaga and the Rock Cats takes center stage for the Puppy Bowl XIII halftime extravaganza (for those tweeting at home, hashtag #KittyHalfTime).

(Important: There's a cat sitting on a cardboard turntable. I repeat: THERE'S NOW A CAT SITTING ON A CARDBOARD TURNTABLE.)

The 3rd quarter brings more player substitutions: Woody, a blue healer, and Ricky, a terrier, get on the field for Team Ruff. Looking to put his best paw forward, Woody threatens to muscle a chew toy into the end zone but gets collared by the opposing linebarker just short of a score.

Tucker, an Aussie sheepdog, also makes an immediate impact, racing down the sideline unchecked for his first score. Team Fluff pushes its lead to 58-31.

Trailing 62-31, Team Ruff makes more painfully cute substitutions: Bo and Stormy will try to turn this match around. But Blitz, a member of Team Fluff, has other ideas. His field goal pads his squad's lead with 3 more points.

OUR FIRST BIG CONTROVERSY! Stormy intercepts Panda's Team Fluff bandana and makes a beeline for the end zone with it and the announcers are left speechless at such a brazen theft. Team Ruff is whopping it up as the 3rd quarter ends with a score of 72-38.

Reflecting her namesake, Hope, a lab and hound mix, dekes three defenders for an impressive Team Fluff score. Her team is up big on the scoreboard; Team Ruff is down on the field (quite literally, see tweet below) but are they out?

A huge scrum at the 50-yard line ends when Hope wrests a stuffed animal from Beebop and Stretch... and promptly settles in for a nap.

But that's just a ruse! When the other dogs lose interest, she jumps up and powers into the end zone for a score.

Alas, it's too little, too late for Team Ruff. Team Fluff claims the coveted Lombarki trophy with a lopsided score of 92-38. The big win also breaks a 2-year losing streak!

While Nikita and Daisy turned into strong performances, the MVP prize is awarded to Rory. The top dog subsequently soaks up cheers from adoring Puppy Bowl fans during an impromptu victory lap!

Did you watch Puppy Bowl XIII? Share your favorite moments in the comment section below!