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Kitten Bowl 2018: Recap, MVP, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2018

FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2015 file photo, kittens play on a mini football field during the taping of
Leanne Italie/Associated Press

The Pouncy Panthers defeated the Little Longtails 34-28 in sudden-death overtime in the fifth annual Kitten Bowl on Sunday at Hallmark Channel Stadium.

Following in the footsteps of namesake and two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning, quartercat Feline Manning was the hero for the Panthers, as he threw the game-ending touchdown to Macaroni.

The Most Valuable Kitten will be chosen via fan vote on HallmarkChannel.com, and the winner of the prestigious MVK award will be revealed Monday.

In the early going of the Kitten Bowl, the Panthers jumped on top thanks to a touchdown run by Dumpling, as seen in this GIF courtesy of the Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

A much-needed paw-some touchdown by Dumpling! #KittenBowl https://t.co/JRJ2fqNB6F

The Longtails made a game of it, though, due largely to the play of the "Texas trio" of Wyatt, Tex and Boots:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

This adorable and adoptable Texas trio are simply CAT-tastic! #KittenBowl https://t.co/rLSY2orOae

In the latter stages of regulation, Boots found the end zone to get the Longtails back in it:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

The paw-some touchdown for the Longtails is all thanks to Boots! #KittenBowl https://t.co/rx5mSE9jkJ

The Longtails had a chance to win it in regulation, but their last-second pass was batted away, which forced the game into overtime, following in the footsteps of the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons in last year's Super Bowl LI.

With Feline Manning playing the role of Tom Brady and Macaroni doing their best James White impression, the Longtails prevailed.

While the kittens were the stars of the show, Brandon Robinson of WYMT pointed out that puppy referee Ruffus stood out in his own right:

Brandon Robinson @brobwx

I may or may not have turned the Kitten Bowl on for a minute. Of all the games on today, the KB definitely has the best referee! 🐶 #BostonsAreTheBest #KittenBowl https://t.co/qLkKRp7ppL

With the Kitten Bowl providing yet another thrilling championship clash, Amber Athey of the Daily Caller expressed her belief that no Super Bowl spin-off involving animals can measure up to the Kitten Bowl:

While the Kitten Bowl was the main event of the show, there were two semifinal playoff games to determine who would compete in the championship game.

In the first contest, the Longtails pulled out a 28-27 comeback win over the Last Hope Lions on a last-second two-cat conversion.

The Longtails were led by Two Tone Jones, who made several great plays throughout the game, including this dramatic goal-line stand:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

Wow! Check out this cat-tatsic interception by Two Tone Jones! #KittenBowl https://t.co/CH683x3aXb

The Lions led until the final whistle, and undisciplined play was their undoing. As seen in the following video, J.J. Swatts tested the patience of Ruffus on multiple occasions by sticking his tongue out:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

JJ Swatts is raising awareness for homeless cats everywhere. Check out his heartfelt story. #KittenBowl https://t.co/Yw00cOZznU

Swatts was called for an unprecedented three uncatsmanlike conduct penalties, but all was forgiven because of his adorable face.

In the second semifinal, the Panthers took down the North Shore Bengals 35-26.

The Panthers benefited from some remarkable offensive plays in the game, as their catletes made some of the best catches in Kitten Bowl history.

Dew Drop made an incredible grab that resulted in a touchdown:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

Lets go Panthers lets go! Check out Dew Drop with that Cat-tastic touchdown! #KittenBowl https://t.co/actfnRrGgV

Also, Swirl channeled Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who made a similar catch in the Pats' win over the Falcons:

Hallmark Channel @hallmarkchannel

@She_Scribes Swirl's an aww-dorable one! 🐱❤️ #KittenBowl https://t.co/Cgii0Qn6B7

The Little Longtails and Pouncy Panthers had a classic Kitten Bowl, but as pointed out by Amy Bellgardt of MomSpark.com, the event was about much more than on-field excellence:

Amy Bellgardt @MomSpark

All kittens deserve a great home. @HallmarkChannel’s goal is to bring loving families and pets together. #KittenBowl PLS RT

Kitten Bowl host Beth Stern told Leah Ingram of Parade prior to the game that all 100 kittens featured on the show were rescued from hurricane-ravaged areas in Houston and Florida.

Additionally, the Kitten Bowl showcased adult cats and puppies up for adoption.

Multiple kittens were adopted during the game, and Stern said all remaining kittens would find their forever homes immediately after the Kitten Bowl.

While the Panthers came out on top Sunday, all the Kitten Bowl kittens and their new owners were the true winners.

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