Before the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers kicked off Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, there was another (much cuter) big game on Sunday afternoon: Animal Planet’s  Puppy Bowl IX.

Puppies taking the field at Puppy Bowl IX \\ Photo: Animal Planet

The game featured 63 adorable shelter pups from around the country — as well as Meep the bird who Tweeted game updates, hamster sports reporters, hedgehog cheerleaders, the traditional kitten half time show and one lucky human ref, who doled out penalties for “excessive cuteness.”

Marta, a Schnauzer-Beagle mix who’s “deceptively athletic,” took home the “Most Valuable Puppy” prize — and all of the puppies are now the winners of forever homes. — Read it at USA Today and meet the puppy players.

Plus: Never doubt an animal prognosticator! Or at least not these two. Both Teddy Bear the talking porcupine and the Golden Retriever puppies who delighted the audience on Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night last week picked the Ravens, who won 34-31.

Photo: Animal Planet / Puppies take to the field at Puppy Bowl IX.