The soccer ball that Tom Brady threw to make his first touchdown pass in the NFL will be auctioned off at Lelands on Sunday.
It’s a unique piece of sports history that has been with the seller, who chooses to remain anonymous, since the game on October 14, 2001 when the New England Patriots played against the San Diego Chargers.
The seller grew up in Rhode Island and has attended Patriots games with his family since the late 1970s. He and three of his high school friends first bought season tickets as college students in 1992 and have kept the tickets to this day.
A loyal fan of the Patriots, he jokes that his wife divorced him nearly 100 times for devoting himself to Sunday games and tailgates with friends.
In the beginning, the tailgates were what the group of friends looked forward to when the Patriots left between 2 and 14 in 1992 and between 5 and 11 in 1993. The team had improved by the 2001 season, but the 25-30 friends were still enjoying the tailgate.
On this autumn day in October, the seller made his way to lot 11 when the parking lot opened that morning. Eventually they split up into their respective places and the seller made his way near the field in the southern end zone.
“When I looked from the 50-yard line to the southern end zone, the left field goal post, I was sitting to the left of it,” said the salesman. “”[Place-kicker] Scott Sisson, we called him Missin ‘Sisson. I caught a lot of balls in this stadium because he would miss field goals. “
The game was only the third Brady started after Drew Bledsoe was injured in the second game of the season against the New York Jets, so most Patriots fans didn’t have high expectations for Brady. However, from the moment Bledsoe was injured, the seller tried to convince his friends that Brady would be the guy who would go forward, despite great opposition from his audience.
Brady had played two games without a touchdown as a starter, and the second quarter was now 4:01, with New England and San Diego each tied three times.
The Patriots were driving the San Diego 21-yard line when Brady took the snapshot, searched for Terry Glenn the entire game, and threw him an arrow before the end zone. Glenn threw his arms in the air and partied with his teammates. Then he made his way near the end zone and threw the ball into the crowd.
“It was a hand-to-hand combat. I got up in my seat and pushed my buddy to the left,” said the salesman. “The other two guys, I gently handed them my beer. I jumped up, argued with a group of other fans around me and came down with the ball.”
At the time, it was just another soccer ball. He was excited to have caught the ball and proud to see that at the age of 29, he still had hands from his high school soccer days.
It wasn’t until he went to the tailgate after the game, when he opened his trunk to show his friends the soccer ball, that one of them reminded him it was Brady’s first touchdown.
He kept the ball in a safe place in his house and even played a very careful catch game with the soccer ball in the back yard. It wasn’t until the end of the 2003 season, when New England defeated the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl, that the seller knew he had something special.
Immediately after that game, he put the ball in a safe at his local bank. It stayed there, seldom removed from its custody. The ball became a superstition for the seller and his friends as he would take it out, snap a picture of it and send it to his friends on the Saturday before every Super Bowl the Patriots appeared in.
The Patriots only lost the Super Bowl once when the seller took a picture of the ball, and they were 2-2 in the two games when he didn’t.
“I was out of town for the Philly game [in 2017]and I just missed the bank closure for the Giants game [in 2007]”Said the seller.” I had kids sports and just couldn’t get there until the bank closed. This resulted in the David Tyree helmet getting caught because I couldn’t take a picture of the ball. “
Over time, and since none of the seller’s children showed any interest in keeping the ball in the family, they decided it was time to move on and allow someone else to enjoy this piece of sports history.
Lelands has photographically verified the soccer ball using markings and lettering on the soccer ball that was specific to the Patriots at the time. As Glenn was partying in the end zone, a photographer captured the moment when Glenn was holding the soccer ball with his laces outstretched and markings clearly visible. There are four main points identified on the ball. The Patriots wrote “PATS” as a marker on one side of the ball near the laces, two dots at the end of the laces, the letters “L” and “N” on one side, and a two-digit number on the other indicating which cue ball was it for that day?
“You can see the exact marks where the writing on the ball in the photo will match the ball we are going to sell,” said Jordan Gilroy, director of acquisitions at Lelands. “It is incredible that there was a photographer who was so close to him at the time. Everything in this scenario was perfect, and we definitely took our care to make sure it was.”
Lelands previously sold the infamous soccer ball from the Patriots’ 2014 AFC Championship Game loss to the Colts, which resulted in New England being accused of deflating soccer balls to gain an advantage. This ball sold for $ 43,740 in July 2015.
Gilroy and the salesman have no realistic estimate of the amount this ball could bring in, but he says it’s not on the same conversation as the deflategate ball.
The time is right to get the best price on this type of item as the hobby of sports cards and memorabilia has exploded over the past year. Lelands sold a signed rookie ticket for Tom Brady Panini’s Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket in April for $ 2.25 million, breaking the record for the best-selling football ticket.
This card was rated 8.5, and the auction house now has the same card that was rated 9 on Sunday. There are only seven of these cards that are rated 9. Hence, this card is expected to dwarf the $ 2.25 million price tag as of April.
As rare as this map is, this soccer ball is a real one and cannot be replicated or recreated.
“It’s incredible that Tom Brady’s football is available and owned by the average fan,” said Gilroy. “It’s a piece of football history and I think in 10, 20, 30 years from now, Brady’s legacy will be remembered even more as it is now Michael Jordan. It will only increase in value. The fact that this ball is likely in the story goes. ” a private collection that may not see the light of day again, it may be the last time it will be sold. “
The seller hasn’t thought much about what would happen if Brady called him to try to add the ball to his personal collection, and he has no expectation of what the ball might bring at auction when it hits on June 4th ends.
Since he’s a loyal Patriot fan and the ball means so much to him, the seller just wants him to go to the right fan.
“Someone who has a place to put it on their mantelpiece tells the story of how they got the ball,” said the salesman. “My overall goal is to get it into the hands of the right fans who enjoy telling their family and friends that they have the ball. It’s a piece of history that you never see, but some of these great ones Pieces of the story need to be in the fans’ hands, so I want to get it to the right person who will enjoy it the way I have it. “