An Unintentional Christmas Gift to the Salvation Army from the NFL

Image: Copyright: deanpictures / 123RF Stock Photo
An Unintentional Christmas Gift to the Salvation Army from the NFL
Bernadine Racoma

Football fans know how difficult it is to make a touchdown. Players experience the aches and pains they sustain on and off the field during skirmishes, and have first-hand knowledge of the hurdles they have to overcome just to score. The adrenalin rush they have after a touchdown often impels them to perform some kind of celebratory gesture.

On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot did just that. He saw the huge Salvation Army’s iconic red kettle, which was on display at one corner of the field. The Dallas Cowboys is a long-time partner of the Salvation Army. The organization, aside from being supported by the Dallas Cowboys, displays the red kettle to remind everyone to share a bit of holiday spirit.

Running back rookie Elliot, in celebration of his touchdown during their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Arlington, Texas jumped into the red kettle. It was unplanned. He was taken over by his exuberance for making a score for his team. It was a big boost for the Salvation Army but drew different actions from people, coaches and spectators alike.

Mixed reactions

That stunt by Elliot elicited mixed reactions from people. The NFL initially stated that Elliot would be fined. It actually drew a penalty for the Cowboys during play, backing them up by 15 yards because it was considered as an unsportsmanlike conduct. Jason Garrett, the Cowboys’ head coach reminded Elliot that such celebrations should not be done because it earns the team some penalty points.

But the NFL announced on Monday that Elliot would not be fined. For his part, Elliot initially said that whatever fine the NFL charges him with he will match it with a donation to the Salvation Army. Now that he will not be fined, he said he would still make a donation to the charity organization. Some football enthusiasts still believe that he should be fined, though.

Reaction from the Salvation Army

There may have been some drama within the NFL for a while due to the unplanned antics after a touchdown, but it gave the Salvation Army several bonuses. The organization posted a tweet saying that Elliot made a vital contribution to his team, and asking people if they too can contribute to help millions of people who are in need, especially during this holiday season.

It raised renewed awareness regarding the purpose of the Salvation Army. The free advertising exposure they got because of what Elliot did was worth close to $4 million, which is a sizeable amount, according to Apex Marketing Group sponsorship evaluation president Eric Smallwood. The most delightful news was that within half a day after Elliot’s momentous jump into the red kettle, online donations to the Salvation Army reached $182,000, according to Lt. Col. Ron Busroe of the Salvation Army.

Ezekiel Elliot

Elliot is a rookie running back for the Dallas Cowboys. With his touchdown after running for two yards on Sunday, the team set a record for rookie running touchdowns in a single season with 13. He is presently a star for the Cowboys, assisting his team to land a playoff spot as well as a tie for the best record in the football league.

Elliot said that while their coach reprimanded him, his teammates still got behind him. Even with the penalty, they managed to prevent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from advancing to the 25.

It was an especially good evening for the Dallas Cowboys, who beat the Buccaneers 26-20.

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