Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott celebrated a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football by jumping into a giant Salvation Army kettle behind the end zone. The unexpected result of that has been an influx of donations to the Salvation Army to support their efforts to help those in need this holiday season.
By Monday afternoon, the Salvation Army had taken in over $180,000 in donations since Zeke’s wildly popular kettle jump, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. Rovell spoke to the president of sponsorship evaluation firm Apex Marketing Group, Eric Smallwood, who projected that the advertising exposure equivalent of Elliott’s celebration would have cost the Salvation Army approximately $4 million.
By Tuesday, those donation numbers had jumped considerably.
Salvation Army says it's received $850k in online donations since Ezekiel Elliott jumped in bucket. That buys 91k meals to those in need.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 20, 2016
"We have those kettles there because we do want the visibility of reminding everybody, certainly at this time of year, how doing the most good is putting a dollar in that red kettle,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “To have gotten that attention in front of probably 20 million or so people last night for the Salvation Army was just wonderful."
Elliott said Sunday that if the league fined him for the celebration, he would contribute to the Salvation Army. On Monday, after the league confirmed there will be no fine assigned to Elliott for the celebration, Elliott said he’s going to donate to the Salvation Army anyway.
Elliott said after the game that he hoped to give the Salvation Army a little love with the celebration.
The Salvation Army will use donations to help families in need provide presents to their children, feed the hungry, and shelter the homeless this holiday season.