Baby animals

'Ruff'ing the QB! The Puppy Bowl was glorious

Feb. 3, 2013 at 5:31 PM ET

Keith Barraclough / Photo by Keith Barraclough /
The referee makes a call on the field during Puppy Bowl IX.

Football shmootball!

Even if you aren't a pigskin fan, there was something entertaining on TV Sunday: The Puppy Bowl! Animal Planet's counter-programming special never fails to delight, and from rambunctious pups to cheerleading hedgehogs carrying pompoms, Puppy Bowl IX was no exception.

An ultra slow-mo cute cam featured dogs whisking off their own slobber in an extreme close-up, while hamsters rode a blimp overhead. The best news: The feline babies at the kitty halftime show, as far as we could tell, did not get hassled by over-zealous canines. Here are some images from the action-packed event.

Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
Every player needs to rest at some point.
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
One puppy makes the first entrance onto the field.
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
Dogs playing on the field during Puppy Bowl IX
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
Dogs play on the field.
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet/Keith Barraclough /
A Hedgehog makes a run for it after dropping the pompom.
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
There was a scuffle over a stuffed bone.
Keith Barraclough / Animal Planet /
The referee calls nap time.
Keith Barraclough / Photo by Keith Barraclough /
Things got a little heated when toys were involved.
Keith Barraclough / Photo by Keith Barraclough /
The hedgehog cheerleaders were the heart and soul of the game.

NBC's Brian Williams got a sneak peek at the Puppy Bowl before the main event, and made friends with some of the very special puppy players.

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