Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl 2020 Sported Cutest Lineup That Included Five Special Needs Puppy Athletes

Super Bowl Sunday had the “most epic” day in Puppy Bowl history as Animal Planet’s annual showdown between cute and adoptable puppies hit the ball out of the park.

For 16 years, Animal Planet has given dogs a helping paw through possibly one of the most adorable televised sporting events. 

This year, the Puppy Bowl had a record number of dogs competing in what even featured a halftime show, referees, and a trophy for the winners.

HOW THE PUPPY BOWL WORKS

The competing dogs are divided into two teams by the producers and put in a mini football stadium littered with dog-approved toys. 

It is then up to the pawtenders to score “touchdowns” for their team while a referee keeps a close eye on developments.

This year featured Team Ruff and Team Fluff, who competed for the coveted Chew “Lombarky” Trophy, and the show remained a firm favorite among fans, as one wrote on social media:

“Whoever came up with the idea of the Puppy Bowl should have a statue sculpted in their honor."

While the purpose of the annual Puppy Bowl is to encourage adoptions, it became known for its Pedigree puppy kiss cam, its water bowl cam, and the famous slow-motion replays.

Every year since the start of the Puppy Bowl, all the animals that participated found their forever homes through adoption.

THIS YEAR’S COMPETITORS

With a record number of competitors this year, 96 dogs from 61 rescue organizations and animal shelters across the US attended the Puppy Bowl.

The annual event also featured five special needs pawtenders, including two hearing-impaired pups, a Bulldog mix, and an American Staffordshire Terrier with cleft palates, a blind and hearing-impaired Shetland Sheepdog mix, and a three-legged Labrador Retriever mix.

The scorekeeper was none other than Surge the Hamster, who previously took on the role. And for those who found him a double dose of cute, he is an actual hamster and also up for adoption.

THE HALFTIME SHOW

As a nod to the Latin divas Shakira and Jennifer Lopez, who rocked their collaborative Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show performance, sassy cat divas Jenni-Purr Lopez and Cat-ira stole the puppy show.

The two sweethearts gave a purrfect performance of “Catnips Don’t Lie!” after arriving in a “decked-out limousine,” in support of their k-9 counterparts.

HUMAN INVOLVEMENT 

The “Pup Close and Personal” segment, which highlights the endearing stories behind every pawtender, was introduced by television correspondent Jill Rappaport.

“Rufferee” Dan Schachner returned to fulfill his duties for the ninth time.

YES, THERE IS A KITTEN BOWL TOO!

Hallmark Channel aired it’s seventh Kitten Bowl on Sunday, and it included more than 100 cats and kittens in need of a loving home.

As opposed to the Puppy Bowl’s two teams, the Kitten Bowl has four, so there are playoff games before the championship game takes place. 

Just like the Puppy Bowl, all the kittens that competed in their Super Bowl also found their forever homes.

Pets can show an inspiring amount of resilience, and sometimes it can manifest in the most endearing of ways. Nothing can be more accurate for 11-year-old Charlie, a blind golden retriever, and Maverick, a 4-month old retriever pup.

Blind 11-year-old old Golden Retriever Charlie and his new best friend Maverick who became his guide. | Source: YouTube/ABC News.

Blind 11-year-old old Golden Retriever Charlie and his new best friend Maverick who became his guide. | Source: YouTube/ABC News.

Charlie lost his eyesight due to glaucoma, and his owners decided to get another puppy at the beginning of last year. 

With his lack of vision, Charlie struggled to get around until Maverick came into the picture. Although it wasn’t love at first sight, Maverick became Charlie’s guide, and the pair forged an unbreakable and heartwarming bond.

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