It's Super Bowl Sunday, which means one thing—the inaugural Kitten Bowl.
What, you were thinking NFL football?
After the wildly popular Puppy Bowl swept up viewers' hearts starting in 2005 with their program running early in the afternoon of every Super Bowl Sunday, Hallmark Channel embarked in the first year of the feline-exclusive competition.
Among the madness were hilarious NFL-related nicknames, adoption promos, suspenseful games, and—you guessed it—dozens of adorable kittens romping around to the pleasure of millions of viewers impatiently waiting for tonight's gridiron showdown.
It will take some time for the Kitten Bowl to gain the level of national exposure that its Puppy Bowl counterpart has enjoyed, but the first showing of the feline-only event had plenty for any animal lover.
Let's get right into it and break down everything from the 2014 Kitten Bowl.
Kitten Bowl Recap and MVP (MVK, Most Valuable Kitten)
The North Shore Bengals took home the first ever Kitten Bowl championship with a down-to-the-wire 24-20 victory over the Cedar Cove Cougars in the title game, as the show's official Twitter noted:
Final score: North Shore Bengals 24 - Cedar Cove Cougars 20. Congrats, Bengals!! #KittenBowl— Kitten Bowl TV (@KittenBowlTV) February 2, 2014
The Bengals led 13-10 after one half, but quickly saw their lead vanish as the Cougars entered the fourth quarter with a 17-13 lead. The lead went back and forth in a tight fourth quarter before the Bengals took the lead for good in the closing minutes.
Many formidable kittens emerged during the three-hour program, and the Kitten Bowl wasn't about to crown one by itself. Instead, Hallmark Channel allowed the fans to decide as they could vote at the network's Facebook site:
Still time to vote for Most Valuable Kitten.It's neck & neck between Tomcat Brady&Ferrel Owens.Vote now: http://t.co/UC6q8udiUg— Hallmark Channel (@hallmarkchannel) February 2, 2014
In the opening game of the broadcast, the North Shore Bengals ousted the Last Hope Lions, 40-35, in a tight contest that came down to the final moments when the Lions couldn't put together a last-gasp drive. Ferrell Owens and Manti Meow led the Bengals to a close win to advance.
To decide who would play the Bengals in the championship, the Cedar Cove Cougars and Home and Family Felines took the miniature gridiron, and a big performance from Tomcat Brady led to a Cougars win.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady saw his season end in the conference championship round, but his feline counterpart enjoyed a coming-out party during the Kitten Bowl. Tomcat Brady was an unstoppable force for the Cougars, who set up a title bout with the Bengals for all the marbles.
But despite his efforts, the Cougars couldn't get it done in the championship as the Bengals claimed glory in the inaugural event. It's safe to say that Brady will remember that one come the 2015 event.
Twitter is a place for airing your own ideas, self promotion and, of course, talking about the Kitten Bowl.
Lifestyle journalist Anna De Souza was among them, taking notice of the kittens' friskiness during the title game between the Cougars and Bengals:
#KittenBowl getting a tad aggressive!— Anna De Souza (@annacdesouza) February 2, 2014
Kitten Bowl host Beth Ostrosky took to Twitter during the showing of the pre-recorded broadcast to express thanks to fans for sharing their experiences viewing on social media:
I'm loving all the pics of your pets watching The Kitten Bowl right now! Hallmark Channel!— Beth Ostrosky (@BethStern) February 2, 2014
Stern wasn't the only Kitten Bowl star to take to social media during the show. Famous chef and TV personality Rachael Ray, who was featured in a segment of the event, shared a creative hashtag and picture from the show:
B/R college football lead writer Adam Kramer offered his own take on the Kitten Bowl with this retweet, throwing his own props Mr. Whiskers' way:
However, the biggest Twitter explosion from the Kitten Bowl wasn't from the event itself and what it entailed. It was the clever puns for names featured for many of the kittens.
From Meowshawn Lynch to Feline Manning and many more, the creative names had folks like NESN's Nicholas W. Goss taking notice:
Some of these names in the Kitten Bowl are pretty funny -- Meowshon Lynch, Feline Manning, etc.— Nicholas W. Goss (@NickGossNESN) February 2, 2014
The creativity didn't stop with names, though, as Hallmark Channel had some fun with some real-time stats that Lana Berry couldn't help but shake her head to:
The inaugural Kitten Bowl packed plenty into its three-hour television event. While it's no consolation for the Broncos-Seahawks showdown or even the Puppy Bowl, expect success from this year's event to turn it from a one-time deal into an annual event.