Jake Ferguson and the Cowboys tight ends figured they might hear from the league regarding their Whac-A-Mole touchdown celebration against the Giants on Thanksgiving Day.
As expected, the bill has arrived.
All four players involved in the stunt- Ferguson, Dalton Schultz, Sean McKeon, and Peyton Hendershot- were fined by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The celebration did not draw a flag during the Week 12 game.
Veteran Dalton Schultz took the biggest financial hit: $13,261. McKeon was fined $4,994; Ferguson, who told reporters he came up with the idea, was fined $4,895; and Hendershot, who scored the touchdown and wielded the football like a mallet in the celebration that took place just beyond the end zone, will be docked $3,944.
Pay up, Dak Prescott: The NFL fined #Cowboys tight ends Dalton Schultz ($13,261), Jake Ferguson ($4,895), Peyton Hendershot ($3,944) and Sean McKeon ($4,994) for their Whack-A-Mole celebration in the Salvation Army bucket.
Prescott said teammates would cover any fines. pic.twitter.com/U9JA1VjiGY
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 3, 2022
But if quarterback Dak Prescott can be taken at his word, the money won’t be coming out of the tight ends’ pockets.
Prescott explained in his press conference after the 28-20 win that he told Ferguson, “We have a couple of guys that can help with the fines, so go for it.”
As ProFootballTalk points out, it is technically a violation of NFL rules for one player to cover a monetary fine levied against another, but there is no mechanism in place to know where the money actually comes from to pay such a fine.
Some of the past Cowboys celebrations that have been set in the trademark kettle have also resulted in fines. Those fines were generally met with matching donations to the Salvation Army from Cowboys players, as well as a noticeable uptick in donations from charitable Cowboys fans.
The Cowboys are a longtime partner of The Salvation Army; team owner Jerry Jones has also said he would cover fines incurred for using the oversized kettle as a prop.
Speaking on Thanksgiving to WFAA-TV, Jones said, “I’d love to have that little tit-for-tat with the NFL and be defending that red kettle on the field as they were giving me some punishment. I’ll take that argument.”
There’s now a $27,094 bill for Cowboys players and ownership to argue over.