Andy Dalton, Buffalo Bills fans share early Feel Good Sports Story of 2018

Bengals QB thankful for donations of $345,000
Posted at 4:35 PM, Jan 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-09 13:59:02-05

CINCINNATI – Who would have thought a TD pass could become the early Feel Good Sports Story of 2018?

Andy Dalton sent a thank-you letter to Buffalo Bills fans Saturday after they flooded the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation with $345,000 in grateful donations  - a heartwarming response to Dalton's TD pass that beat the Ravens and lifted the Bills into the playoffs. 

"What you all have done is beyond football, the Bengals and Bills, and any individual player or play," the Bengals quarterback said in a letter published in the Buffalo News. "Your donations will touch hundreds of real people, real lives."

The Bengals quarterback said there were 15,000 donors "from as far away as Australia, Israel and England" and he explained how their generosity would benefit families of seriously ill and physically-challenged children.

SEE how one Cincinnati family benefits from the foundation's work:

A new ESPN video also provided an inside look at Dalton's foundation.

Dalton also responded to the contributions by placing five thank-you billboards on highways in the Buffalo area. 

Former Elder High star Eric Wood, the Bills center, tweeted that he's proud of Bills fans for supporting Dalton's cause. Wood played for Elder's back-to-back Ohio Division I champions in 2002-03.

READ about the Bills fan who started it all:

Dalton was cleaning out his Bengals locker and checking his Twitter account Monday morning when he joked about his new-found hero status in western New York.

"I think I'm the hottest guy in Buffalo right now," Dalton said. "According to my Twitter, I think everybody's loving us right now. Obviously that's a crazy fan base and they're all pretty excited."

Little did he know.

RELATED: Bills fans donate to Boyd's cause, too

At the time, a few hundred donations had trickled into his foundation from the Buffalo area. Within a few hours, the trickle turned into Niagara Falls.

By the end of the day, more than 2,500 donors had contributed over $57,000.

Many donations came in the sum of $17, Dalton said. That number represents how many years Bills suffered without making the playoffs – the longest streak in North American sports.

And get this: The grateful Bills organization was rallying fans to donate on the team’s Twitter account.

Some Bills fans delivered Buffalo wings delivered to Paul Brown Stadium Monday to show their appreciation to the Bengals.

If you can't imagine the reaction from Bills fans, watch this video. It's synchronized to the reaction from the Bills locker room and fans gatherings when Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for the game-winning TD.

OK, some Bills fans went, well, overboard.

Scott Aldinger summed up what it says about Bills fans:

"We might break a few tables here and there and light ourselves on fire from time to time but we Bills fans sure are classy when it counts."

The Dalton's foundation provides support, opportunities, resources and life-changing experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families in Cincinnati and Fort Worth, according to its website.

To donate, go to the website and click on the button at the top right.