Post-touchdown antics can be a lot of things. They can be creative. They can be embarrassing. At their best they bring fleeting chuckles, and at their worst they're 15-yard penalties.
Ezekiel Elliott's viral Salvation Army Kettle hop in the second quarter of Sunday's 26-20 Cowboys win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is different. Between Sunday night, when he deposited himself in the big red kettle by AT&T Stadium's east end zone, and Tuesday evening, the Salvation Army's Red Kettle campaign has raised approximately $850,000 in online donations.
Thousands more in cash donations are still being counted, according to Lt. Col. Ron Busroe, national community relations and development secretary. "Total donations are up 41 percent compared to this time last week," Busroe tells the Observer. "Thanks to this boost in donations, we will be able to provide an additional 91,000 meals to those in need."
Many of those donations poured into the Salvation Army coffers in $21 increments, as Elliott, who wears No. 21 in the Cowboy backfield, encouraged his Twitter followers to do on Monday. After the NFL announced Monday morning that Elliot would not be fined for the stunt, he approached the Cowboys about what he could do to keep the charitable momentum of the moment going, team CEO Charlotte Jones Anderson told The Ticket radio station Tuesday afternoon.
The NFL has set a precedent this year, with $12,154 fines commonly levied against players who either use the ball as a prop or incorporate another prop into a touchdown celebration. Anticipating a similar fine from Roger "Scrooge" Goodell on Sunday, Elliott told reporters in the locker room following the win over the Bucs that he would match any fine levied against him with a donation to the Salvation Army.
But after celebrating the moment with a light-hearted story about it on NFL.com Monday morning, the heart inside the No-Fun-League front office apparently grew three sizes. Yes, Ezekiel, there is a Santa Claus. The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign will accept donations through Christmas Eve.