The football Tom Brady threw to complete the last touchdown pass of his NFL career is going up for auction with Lelands on Sunday. A fan, who wishes to remain anonymous, caught the ball in the stands and now has a potentially huge pay day on his hands.
With 3:20 left in the divisional playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans caught a pass from Brady and ran it in for a touchdown to put the Bucs within seven points of L.A.
After Evans scored, he tossed the ball into the crowd, not knowing at the time that it would be the last touchdown pass Brady would throw. Evans also had given away the ball Brady threw to complete his 600th touchdown pass earlier in the season.
The Bucs' staff retrieved the 600 ball and rewarded the fan, but no one from the staff asked for the ball back this time around.
"We stayed for the whole game and I just kind of held it like a baby and we watched them come back and lose," the seller told ESPN. "We stood around for a while while the players walked off the field, then I tucked it in my jacket and we just walked out like normal. Nobody came up to us or anything."
The seller grew up in Michigan and moved to central Florida three years ago. He and his wife had never been to a Buccaneers game, and it was his wife who talked him into buying tickets.
They bought the tickets Saturday, the day before the game, and at the time they had no idea they would be watching Brady's final game, let alone catching his final touchdown ball.
Once Evans scored, there was quite a bit of room in the stands as a few fans had left early. Everyone around the seller, including his wife, was cheering and celebrating the touchdown.
"Everybody was screaming, and I'm just standing there, clapping, and the ball hits me pretty much in the chest," the seller said. "I tucked it in like I was a running back, because I was sure I was going to get tackled by four or five different people to grab the ball, but that never happened. My wife was still cheering and I told her, 'Look, look, I got the ball.'"
The ball could fetch a significant amount of money. Last June, Lelands sold the football Brady threw to complete his first NFL touchdown for $428,841.
The seller wasn't aware of the potential value until after Brady announced his retirement. Now that he knows what he has, it's potentially life-changing money.
"Retirement was the first thing we thought of," the seller said. "Since then, we thought maybe we don't retire, but it's a nice nest egg for when we do. Whatever happens, I would love to have as many people see the football and for it go in the Hall of Fame on display.
"It should go somewhere everybody can enjoy it; it's a piece of history."