Bengals fans have now joined in on one of the best sports trends to come from this season. More than 100 Bengals fans have donated to the Blake Bortles Foundation since the Jaguars knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs with a 45-42 victory in Pittsburgh.
This comes after Bills fans donated about $300,000 to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation following the Bengals knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs, which sent Buffalo to the postseason for the first time in 17 years. Now, it’s great to see Bengals fans paying it forward after the Steelers were eliminated from the postseason.
The Bengals-Steelers rivalry has taken on an extra level of hate recently with the teams having players threaten each other off-the-field. This season we saw JuJu Smith-Schuster take one of the cheapest shots in NFL history against Vontaze Burfict, and then reenact it in the game following his suspension as a celebration.
So obviously seeing the Steelers get eliminated from the playoffs at home against the Jaguars was pretty satisfying for many Bengals fans. It also helped that the Steelers talked an endless amount of trash before the game only to be shut up almost instantly as they fell behind 28-7. The Steelers did manage to crawl back into it, but the great Bortles was simply too much for the Steelers defense to handle.
Bortles shared his appreciation for the Bengals fans’ donations with First Coast News.
“Fans are at the core of the football experience and it’s truly exciting and rewarding when they band together, regardless of the team they cheer for, to make a positive impact in the lives of others,” Bortles said. “I greatly appreciate the support displayed by Bengals fans and they should know their support will make a difference,”
Bortles’ foundation puts on a youth football camp every season. He also set up a day where first responders could eat free at Jimmy John’s. It has also supported a camp that has helped children with Autism learn to surf, and it helped open a community dedicated to establishing a lifestyle of independence for individuals with disabilities called the the Arc Jacksonville Village.
This is an incredibly heart warming way for Bengals fans to show their appreciation, and it is just another example of sports being more than just a silly game that is played by millionaires. Sports really can have an impact on the world.
Update: Donations from Bengals fans to the Blake Bortles Foundation have reportedly surpassed $10,000!