Not To Burst Everyone’s Bubble, But Ezekiel Elliott Isn’t The First Player To Jump Into The Salvation Army Kettle. Not By A Long Shot.
The most talked-about play from the Dallas Cowboys’ 26-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night came as the team’s lightning rod rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter.
But the talking points didn’t center around the fact that the TD, his 13th on the season, set a franchise rookie record. Instead, they were all focused on the clever stunt he pulled after the fact, when he drew attention to the Jones Family’s pet charity The Salvation Army by leaping into one of the giant red kettles in the end zone after the score.
Zeke, figuring the NFL would fine him for his antics, said he’d match the fine with a donation to the charity. And, even after the No Fun League said they weren’t going to fine him for his not-all-that-creative celebration, he tweeted about how he was still going to make a donation anyway.
— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) December 19, 2016
That Zeke, man. He’s so likable!
Unfortunately, he’s not necessarily all that original. Not to be Major Buzzkill, here, but Zeke’s far from the first player to use the bucket as a prop while celebrating a score. A full decade ago, Terrell “He’s My Quarterback” Owens made a donation of his own, dropping the pigskin into one of the kettles on a Thanksgiving Day game in 2006. Coincidentally that game was also against the Bucs. (Fast forward to around the 3:50 mark in the video below to see that dump.)
Granted, that’s not quite the same as jumping into the bucket. But someone else beat Zeke to that punch, too. In a 2007 game against the Cowboys, Eagles WR Reggie Brown did that — on an incomplete pass of all things! Later, he would claim he did it because he was running too fast and couldn’t slow down. (Also, coincidentally, Brown and Owens played together on the Eagles’ 2005 team.)
But, hey, whatever. A true innovator or no, that Elliott kid is hard not to root for.
And, for what it’s worth, the Salvation Army is saying donations jumped up 61 percent today because of Elliott’s big leap. They know this, they say, because many of the donations are being made in the amount of $21, in honor of Elliott’s jersey number.