Rather than being preserved in a museum, the ball had reached the public domain because Evans had tossed it into the stands in celebration where it was caught by a lucky spectator. Lelands used marks and numbers on the ball to photo match it and verify its authenticity.
Last year, Lelands also auctioned Brady’s first career touchdown ball for $428,841 which was similarly tossed into the stands by the receiver who caught it, Terry Glenn.
In between engineering these two touchdowns, Brady won seven Super Bowls — an all-time record — and became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (84,520), touchdown passes (624), completions (7,263), regular season wins (243), playoff wins (35) and Super Bowl MVPs (five).
Two days after the auction closed, however, the 44-year-old quarterback announced that he would be
for his 23rd season in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, following a six-week retirement.
The $518,000 ball featured during the Buccaneers’
home playoff loss
to the Los Angeles Rams on January 23.
Brady threw the ball 55 yards to wide receiver Mike Evans who scored a touchdown to cut the Rams’ lead to seven, 27-20, with 3:20 left to play in the game. Despite their comeback from 27-3 down, the Bucs eventually lost 30-27.