Ezekiel Elliott sparked Salvation Army donations after his touchdown celebration Sunday night led to a 61 percent spike in online donations for the charity.
During “Sunday Night Football,” the Dallas Cowboys running back was seen hopping into the Salvation Army’s kettle “in a peekaboo moment” following his second-quarter touchdown, according to The Washington Post.
The star rookie called it his “ZekeKettleLeap” touchdown celebration.
The Salvation Army saw a significant spike in donations, bringing in $182,000 in online donations from the moment Elliott scored the touchdown to about 10:30 a.m. Monday morning, ABC News reported.
“We don’t normally see spikes like that at random,” Lt. Colonel Ron Busroe, the Salvation Army’s national secretary for community relations and development, told USA Today Sports on Monday.
“As of today, he is our favorite Cowboy player,” Busroe said, per USA Today.
The publicity gained by the touchdown stunt was worth at least $4 million in advertising exposure, Eric Smallwood, president of sponsorship evaluation firm Apex Marketing Group, told ABC News.
“Let’s give Zeke credit for that. It is certainly fun,” Cowboys owner, president and general manager Jerry Jones said Monday, per ABC News. “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. To have gotten that attention in front of probably 20 million or so people [Sunday] night for the Salvation Army was just wonderful.”
While the crowd and the millions watching from home might have loved the celebration, game officials flagged Elliott for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Elliott pledged to match any fine the NFL placed on him as a result of his post-touchdown antics. The NFL chose not to fine him.
On Monday evening, the star rookie, who wears No. 21, pledged a $21,000 donation to the Salvation Army, and encouraged others on Twitter to donate $21 to the charity.
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