Hallmark Channel’s 5th Annual Kitten Bowl aired today at 12:00 p.m. EST before the Pats and Eagles faced off in their big (but not nearly as cute) game, and it was full of furry cat-letes.
Host Beth Stern was joined by announcers Dean Cain and Alison Sweeney — both TV personalities — as well as sideline commentator/former football player Rodney Peete and Ruffus the referee.
Ruffus’ job? To make calls on trash-talking, showboating and, yes, pass inter-furr-ence inside the Hallmark Channel stadium.
Four teams competed for the ultimate National Championship of Feline Football trophy: Last Hope Lions, Little Longtails, North Shore Bengals and Pouncy Panthers. The winners of each playoff round competed in the Kitten Bowl Championships for the grand prize.
One player to watch was Hurricane Harvey rescue JJ Swatts (not to be confused with defensive end for the Houston Texans J.J. Watts). Swatts, a whole 2 pounds of "mostly fur," is the highest-paid kitty in the FFL (Feline Football League).
Also, there was "quartercat" Feline Manning (not to be confused with quarterback Eli Manning).
As for the rules, when two kittens climbed on a goal post at the same time, that amounted to 2 points. If a cat went through a goal post, that was 3. And every touchdown, as in the real game, was 6 points total.
Kitten Bowl 2018 announcers gave us an inside look into heartwarming stories of how some of these kittens were rescued from hurricanes that struck our nation late last year.
North Shore Animal League America stepped in when many of the shelters in Texas and Florida were in dire need of help due to overcrowding.
One of these animals, Sunny, lost his leg while trying to escape the rains during Hurricane Irma. "He hops along beautifully with three legs," Stern, who acted as his foster mom, told the woman adopting him later on.
Then there was Anakin, the two-legged cat, who was adopted by a family after being homeless on the streets.
He’s on Instagram, you guys!
Kitten Bowl 2018 highlights
Sky-high leaps and jumps
Blocked field goals
Coaches take the field
Halftime show presented by Meow Mix
The "Trek Around The Globe" halftime show featured kittens and puppies alike and reminded viewers that there’s no place like a forever home no matter where you are in the world.
Who won Kitten Bowl 2018?
After two hours of playoff games, the Little Longtails beat the Last Hope Lions 28 to 27, and the Pouncy Panthers came out on top when they played the North Shore Bengals, beating them 35 to 26.
So, the championship round came between the Little Longtails and the Pouncy Panthers. It was a claw-bitter, and after four quarters of passes, plays and kitty yoga (yeah, that happened), the score was tied at 28.
In a sudden-death overtime, the Pouncy Panthers took home the win over the Little Longtails 34 to 28.
The MVK (most valuable kitten) will be announced tomorrow. You can vote here.
Some of the players, such as Hurricane Irma survivor Star and Little Longtail member Two Tone Jones, even got adopted during Kitten Bowl 2018. They were literally picked up off the field.
To find out more about giving these adorable cat-letes forever homes, go to animalleague.org.