The 17-year playoff drought has ended for the Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton is partially responsible for that.
After the Bills defeated the Miami Dolphins in the last game of the season, their shot at getting into the playoffs came down to the Bengals beating the Baltimore Ravens. With Baltimore leading by three points at the end of the fourth quarter, that didn’t seem possible. That was until Dalton threw an incredible 49-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd with less than a minute left in the game.
That touchdown secured the Bills’ wild card spot in the playoffs. For the first time since 1999, the team would be playing their first postseason game. Bills fans’ were thrilled. To show their appreciation to Dalton, fans started donating to his charity: the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation.
Many fans donated in $17 increments to represent the 17 years of the playoff drought. According to NFL.com, nearly 15,000 people donated over $345,000 to the foundation.
The charity provides support and resources to sick children and their families in the Cincinnati and Fort Worth, Texas area. Dalton is originally from Katy, Texas, and he wanted to give back to his community as soon as he had the platform to do so. Once he was drafted by the Bengals in 2011, that dream became a reality.
With the outpouring of donations from Bills fans’, the foundation will be able to create even more of an impact for families in need. The money received will go towards funding the King for a Day and Holiday Hearts events, among others.
Dalton and his wife were astonished at the generosity of the fans. He said he would be rooting for the Bills in their AFC wild-card game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, though they would go on to fall 10-3.
Despite their loss, the fans haven’t stopped donating to show their thanks to Dalton. In fact, they took it up a notch and also started donating to an organization close to Tyler Boyd’s heart, the Western Pennsylvania Youth Athletic Association. A YouCaring page has been set up to benefit the WPYAA, and has raised nearly $65,000 so far.
Dalton and Boyd helped give Bills fans’ hope again after a 17-year drought, and their is no doubting how truly thankful they are as seen by their incredible generosity.