Puppy Bowl 2019: Team Ruff takes it all in adorable Super Bowl alternative

What's better than football? Puppies!

Update 7:45 p.m. EST Feb. 3: Team Ruff took the top prize at Animal Planet's 15th annual Puppy Bowl Sunday, beating Team Fluff  in a close match 59-51, just hours before the kickoff at Super Bowl LIII.

Team Fluff was on a winning streak before Sunday’s loss, including a 93-38 blow-out in 2017.

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This year's 93 puppies, 36 of which have special needs, come from 53 different shelters across the continental United States, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico.

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Divided into Team Ruff and Team Fluff, the pooch participants compete for the highly coveted Lombarky Trophy and Most Valuable Puppy award as Rufferee Dan Schachner calls the shots with co-ref Shirley the rescue sloth. And the best part? The Puppy Bowl has a 100 percent adoption rate for all pups.

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Along with Shirley the sloth, Animal Planet's pre-filmed showdown features baby sloths from Costa Rica's Toucan Rescue Ranch sanctuary. You'll also find cheerleading baby kangaroos, porcupines and capybaras on the sidelines and a halftime show curated especially for kitten lovers everywhere, according to the network.

In a 2015 Reddit AMA, Schachner told readers the event is shot about three months in advance and takes two days to film. More than 15 cameras are used.

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"What you see on TV is only the best of the best," Puppy Bowl camera operator Cory Popp told the A.V. Club in 2015. "Because they're puppies, they're not trained, they're just doing whatever they want to do. It's just hoping for the best."

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Catch Puppy Bowl 2019 on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. this Sunday, Feb. 3 . A pre-game show will begin at 11 a.m., but you can also stream it right now at AnimalPlanet.com. For those without cable, streaming providers carrying the channel include Hulu Live, DirecTV NOW, PlayStation Vue or Philo.

Puppy Bowl XV’s starting lineup of champs:

Team Fluff

  • Ziggy (Boston Terrier/SATO from AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Iowa)
  • Astro (Labrador Retriever/Siberian Husky from Animal Friends Humane Society, Ohio)
  • Flora (American Staffordshire Terrier/Boxer from Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Maine)
  • Dawn (Beagle/Dachshund from Citizens for Animal Protection, Texas)
  • Brady (Chihuahua/Russell Terrier from Dog Star Rescue, Connecticut)
  • Marisol (Miniature Poodle-Catahoula from Territorio de Zaguates, Costa Rica)
  • Ace (Chihuahua/Cocker Spaniel from Virginia Beach SPCA, Virginia)
  • Remington (Beagle from Bonnie's Animal Rescue Kingdom from New Jersey)
  • Scooter (Cocker Spaniel-Chihuahua from from Virginia Beach SPCA, Virginia)
  • Brooklyn (Neapolitan Mastiff/American Staffordshire Terrier from AHeinz57 Pet Rescue & Transport, Iowa)
  • Bumble (Lab/Chow Chow from Double J Dog Ranch, Idaho)
  • Clara (Corgi from Florida Little Dog Rescue, Florida)
  • Gallagher (Saint Bernard from Pet Rescue & Transport, Iowa)
  • Lola (Shar Pei from Florida Little Dog Rescue, Florida)
  • Melody (Maltese from Memphis Humane Society, Tennessee)
  • Foles (American Staffordshire Terrier-Akita from Providence Animal Center, Pennsylvania)
  • Maisey (Labrador Retriever from Jersey Girls Animal Rescue, New Jersey)
  • Smudge (American Staffordshire Terrier-Standard Bulldog from Animal Friends Humane Society, Ohio)
  • Will (Old English Sheepdog-Doodle from Doodle Rock Rescue, Texas)

Team Ruff

  • Bee (Chihuahua/Pekingese from The Sato Project, Puerto Rico)
  • Shy Boy (Lhasa Apso/Miniature Poodle from SPCALA, California)
  • Pirate (English Springer Spaniel/McNab from Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, Virginia)
  • Whitney (Siberian Husky from Big Fluffy Dogs, Tennessee)
  • Violet (Chihuahua/Miniature Poodle from Vanderpump Dogs, California)
  • Sierra (American Staffordshire Terrier/Chow Chow from Muddy Paws, New York)
  • Hank (Labradoodle from Green Dogs Unleashed, Pennsylvania)
  • Pistachio (Maltese from Every Dog Counts Rescue, Indiana)
  • Bugsy (Sato/Greyhound from The Sato Project, Puerto Rico)
  • Scotch (Chihuahua/Shih Tzu from Paw Works, California)
  • Moses (American Staffordshire Terrier/Chow Chow from Big Fluffy Dogs, Tennessee)
  • Alexander (Great Pyrenees from Big Fluffy Dogs, Tennessee)
  • George (Chihuahua/Miniature Poodle from Nevada SPCA, Nevada)
  • Bella (Shih Tzu/Chihuahua from The Sato Project, Puerto Rico)
  • Harry (Shih Tzu/Chihuahua from The Sato Project, Puerto Rico)
  • Flo (Chihuahua/Maltese from Helen Woodward Animal Center, California)
  • Emmitt (Australian Cattle Dog/Boykin Spaniel from Planned Pethood, Florida)

If you tune in and see a puppy you may want to adopt, "go to AnimalPlanet.com and look up the puppy profile, which will connect you with the shelter or rescue center that has them!" Schachner said. But you have to act quickly.

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