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Puppy Bowl XV 2019: Recap, MVP, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2019

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Attendees cuddle with puppies from a local rescue, Paw Works, who are on hand to promote Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl XII' during the Discovery Communications TCA Winter 2016 at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa on January 7, 2016 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery Communications)
Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The most adorable sporting event of the year is in the books after Team Ruff prevailed over Team Fluff with a thrilling 59-51 victory in Puppy Bowl XV. 

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

Bennett, the captain of #TeamRuff, takes the Chewy Lombarky Trophy. Congrats on taking back the win! #PuppyBowl #PuppyBowlXV https://t.co/VAUo2lrqaR

Animal Planet's annual gathering of the best canine athletes in the world was dominated by Bumble's MVP performance. Her award-winning effort is even more impressive considering she was playing with toys in the locker room in the second quarter:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

Bumble awaits her turn in the locker room as the score remains 24-21. #TeamFluff #PuppyBowl #PuppyBowlXV https://t.co/zeoetY3mSc

Bumble also made history en route to being named MVP after Fluff's win:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

You’re witnessing Puppy Bowl history here. Bumble is the first special needs dog to ever win @BISSELLclean MVP honors! #PuppyBowlXV #ad https://t.co/APE53ic4vF

Team Fluff entered Sunday's matchup on a two-game winning streak in the Puppy Bowl, including a lopsided 93-38 win in 2017. Their recent dominance led to the squad coming into this year's contest as a heavy favorite:

OddsShark @OddsShark

Puppy Bowl XV on @AnimalPlanet lines (Bovada): Team Ruff -7.5 Team Fluff +7.5 https://t.co/osRGmIvC9E

Rather than wait to see what Fluff would bring to the table, Emmitt got Team Ruff on the board on the first drive of the game:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

TOUCHDOWN! Emmitt makes the first score! #TeamRuff #PuppyBowlXV #PuppyBowl https://t.co/48L3c57V5I

Fluff seemed out of sorts early on, even when things were going well. Clara took a long water break on the following drive as her teammates fought to tie the score at seven:

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Philo @Philo

Drama, drama, drama. Team Fluff's Clara shows overconfidence by celebrating her team's touchdown on the field. #PuppyBowlXV https://t.co/r4bCnIqbJe

Those quick-succession touchdowns would set the pace for the entire game. Both teams looked unstoppable on offense, combining for 58 points in the first half. Emmitt made a strong case for MVP with his second score of the first quarter on this scamper to the end zone:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

Emmitt makes his second touchdown! This cute as heck pup is sure making money moves! He’s an MVP contender! You can use #VoteEmmitt to vote. #PuppyBowlXV #PuppyBowl https://t.co/C3JbMfiCsp

While Team Ruff was content to let Emmitt carry the offensive load, Team Fluff used a more wide-open approach that got everyone involved. Marisol took advantage of a Ruff defense that didn't put anyone around her to make it a 21-14 game in the second quarter:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

Aaaand MARISOL FOR THE TOUCHDOWN! #TeamFluff The score is 21-14 #PuppyBowlXV #PuppyBowl https://t.co/OHbEav1YDx

Whatever adjustments Ruff made after trailing 30-28 at the end of two quarters worked to perfection. Fluff may have been distracted by the mesmerizing halftime show featuring Acrocats doing amazing circus feats and Purr-oon 5 putting on an explosive music performance:

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

The Acrocats are STUNTING the house down!😻 PUT YOUR PAWS TOGETHER! #PuppyBowl #PuppyBowlXV https://t.co/DEe9rRgEl3

Animal Planet @AnimalPlanet

It’s time now for the headline act… Purr-oon 5 with Adam Feline! 🎶meeeowowowow meow yowyow 🎶 #PuppyBowl #PuppyBowlXV https://t.co/EmAz7gBO6Z

Ruff went on a 28-7 run in the second half to take a commanding 56-37 lead. Team Fluff, displaying the heart of a champion, stormed back with two late touchdowns to make it a one-possession game. 

Bumble solidified her MVP win by making a field goal to finish Team Fluff's scoring for the day. 

Even though only one team of puppies could be crowned champions on the field, the world is the true winner after being able to watch dogs compete for the biggest honor in sports for two hours. 

There's also a silver lining for Team Ruff in defeat. Puppy Bowl referee Dan Schachner told the Hollywood Reporter's Ciara McVey every dog who has ever competed in this game over the previous 14 years has been adopted: 

"We've worked with 50 different shelters in this year's Puppy Bowl. We also have the Dog Bowl which airs the night before for adult dogs, which often languish in shelters and don't get adopted as quickly as puppies, so we have to highlight them.

"We have special needs dogs, as well, that often have a hard time getting adopted, so we're highlighting as many different types of dogs as possible, and yes, they all get adopted by the time we air."

Bumble is one of those special-needs dogs who is deaf and vision-impaired. She hasn't let those hurdles prevent her from becoming a world-class athlete capable of dominating on the biggest stage in sports. 

Team Ruff's victory is a testament to their hard work, dedication and never-give-up attitude in the face of so much adversity. Team Fluff has nothing to be ashamed of after making a valiant comeback attempt before time ran out.

The only downside to the game being over is now we have to wait 365 days until next year's Puppy Bowl. 

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