It was a ruff match!
The winner of the 2024 Puppy Bowl was officially decided on Sunday, when Team Ruff managed to overtake Team Fluff hours before the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII.
In a very close game, Team Ruff eked out a narrow victory over Team Fluff, with 72 points to 69.
This year’s win marks Ruff’s fourth victory over Fluff.
As previously reported by The Post, the teams consist of 131 dogs from 73?shelters?across 36 states — six of the furry friends, for the first time, have special needs.
This year’s Puppy Bowl, which marks the contest’s 20th anniversary, also featured a chow chow/American Staffordshire terrier from the US Virgin Islands, a first in the competition’s history.
Warner Brothers said that the purpose behind the chaotic skirmish — aside from giving viewers the chance to watch puppies frolic for 3 hours — is to get each of the participants adopted.
“Puppies are taking over the show’s production by operating the cameras and lighting, directing from the control room, stage managing on the studio floor and even coaching Team Ruff and Team Fluff,” the studio said in a statement.
Puppy Bowl XX was supervised by referee Dan Schachner, who has overseen the?struggle for the Lombarky trophy for the last 13 years.
According to the Brooklyn resident, the most challenging part of his job is finding new ways to call interference.
“The most challenging part of the job is coming up with different ways to say the same thing,” Schachner, 49, told The Post.
“You know how the Eskimos have 50 different words for snow? We have a million different ways to say ‘piss interference,’ ‘fertilizing the field.’ So, coming up with new and interesting calls is definitely a challenge,” he added.
Schachner told The Post that he also plans to adopt one of the furry friends — a puppy named Whistle who will also serve as his assistant referee.
Schachner ruminated that he had to prepare for everything.
“You’re watching untrained puppies on a field with chew toys. So you’re constantly being surprised,” he laughed. “I’ve seen dogs leap a foot and a half in the air, when I didn’t think they could. I’ve had dogs decide to opt out of playing, and just hang out snoozing. I’ve had dogs that decided to jump off the field and into a cameraman’s lap.
“I’ve had dogs put their little snouts in my pocket and steal my penalty flag … we’re constantly on our feet,” he continued.
Despite the “field” being the size of “a large living room,” the Puppy Bowl still requires a massive 100-person crew, as well as a team of animal wranglers and vets.
“It is a tremendous operation,” he said. “We can’t have more than eight to 10 on the field at once. So, subs are coming in all the time. If a dog seems too tired or too rambunctious, we’ll sub them out.”