When Falcons head coach Mike Smith flew to quarterback Matt Ryan’s defense after a late hit in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, it further endeared the fan base to the second-year coach.
So now that Smith faces a $15,000 from the league for his actions, fans are flying to his aid.
“We are officially collecting donations for Coach Mike Smith in honor of his impending fine from the NFL,” wrote Hal Moore, an administrator on the fan site the Official Falcons Message Board.
“In the spirit of helping the coach ‘pay his fine,’ we are collecting funds to support the charity of Smith’s choosing.”
And to add a sly little back-handed swipe at a certain former Falcons cornerback who also was involved in Sunday’s sideline melee and wears the number 23 on his Redskins jersey, the goal is $2,300 and fans are asked to contribute an extra 23 cents to every donation.
The effort began Thursday and had roughly $1,900 in donations by midday Friday, Moore said. The money has come from donation pledges and bids for items being sold on eBay.
Since the NFL won’t let fans pay a coach’s or player’s fines for him, the group is donating the proceeds to the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation.