When it appeared Tom Brady had retired from professional football earlier in 2022, one of the most sought-after items immediately became the football Brady had used to throw what seemed to be his final touchdown pass (a 55-yard score to wide receiver Mike Evans during the Buccaneers’ divisional round loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams).
A little over a month after Brady announced his retirement, the football was put up for auction, fetching a whopping sale price of $518,000.
But less than 24 hours after the auction, Brady dramatically revealed that he was making a comeback. Seemingly left with a much less valuable piece of memorabilia, the auction buyer was given a fortunate out.
According to ESPN, since the auction happened so close to Brady’s decision to un-retire, no money had been exchanged, and all parties agreed to nullify the agreement.
“We wanted to do the right thing here,” Lelands Auctions president and partner Mike Heffner told ESPN’s Dan Hajducky. “It’s the most unique situation that we’ll probably ever encounter in our lifetimes, at least when it comes to sports memorabilia. We’re still not to the end of the book yet; we’ve written a chapter.”
In the end, a month passed before the resulting nullification was finalized (as each group in the auction process waited to see if Brady would stay unretired).
“All parties were waiting to see how it played out,” Heffner explained. “Tom Brady, let’s face it, is kind of unpredictable these days. Until he throws that first touchdown pass in September, this ball is still the record.”