Salvation Army hits the jackpot on Zeke’s kettle jump

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott boosted the team’s partnership with the Salvation Army by jumping into the organization’s Red Kettle during a 2016 game at AT&T Stadium.

The NFL let Ezekiel Elliott off the hook Monday, but the Dallas Cowboys running back is sticking to his promise.

On Monday evening, No. 21 tweeted that he will, figuratively speaking, drop $21,000 into the Salvation Army kettle and encouraged contributions, adding that “your $21 feeds a family for three days.”

It’s all part of what he calls the “ZekeKettleLeap,” the touchdown celebration in which he exuberantly hopped into the organization’s kettle in a peekaboo moment that put the Salvation Army’s holiday drive squarely in the national spotlight on “Sunday Night Football.” Elliott was immediately flagged by refs for unsportsmanlike conduct and vowed after the game to match any fine the NFL, which abhors touchdown celebrations, might assess.

Quickly realizing what a bad idea that probably would be, the league officially gave Elliott a pass Monday.

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By the time the NFL announced that, though, it was clear that the Salvation Army was the other big winner in Sunday night’s game. In the first 12 1/2 hours after the leap, the organization saw a 61 percent increase in donations compared with the previous Sunday-night-into-Monday-morning time period and pulled in $182,000 in online donations during that span, Lt. Col. Ron Busroe told ESPN.

“Let’s give Zeke credit for that. It is certainly fun,” Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, said Monday. “We have those kettles there [at the end zones] 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.”