It turns out Tom Brady’s decision to keep playing football didn’t just impact one fan who thought they had a really valuable piece of NFL history. The ball Brady threw for his final regular season touchdown—one that appeared to set the all-time record at 624—also wound up in the hands of a fan in the stands.
When Brady made his short lived decision to retire after the season, lifelong Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan Janice Green though the ball receiver Mike Evans handed to her in the Bucs’ win over Carolina on January 9 was the career record setter. The entire play, including the handoff from Evans to her, was captured on video.
For a fan, it was a once in a lifetime moment. Green was so excited she actually slept with the ball that night.
A few weeks later came Brady’s retirement announcement and Green did some research. After learning of the $400,000 sale of the ball Brady threw for his first career touchdown pass, she had decided that while it was a great keepsake, someone would likely pay at least as much for his last one. She decided to sell for what would be potentially “life changing” money for a school employee.
On March 13, the occupational therapist, who works mostly with children with special needs, was disappointed to learn the news that her favorite player had come out of retirement, determined to pile more touchdowns upon that mountain of records.
“I thought ‘I can’t believe this is happening’ and then I just had to get in my car and drive and watch the sunset,” she recalled. “It was something I had to process.”
Green had already decided to consign the ball to Heritage Auctions but now, it was clear that what likely would have been a six-figure payout—one she planned to use to pay off bills and make life a little easier—wouldn’t be coming.
Green has decided to sell the ball anyway. It’s among the items in Heritage Auctions’ current catalog. For now, Brady’s 624th touchdown throw holds the National Football League’s TD record by a wide margin; Drew Brees comes in second at 571 TDs thrown during the regular season. Until Brady suits up for his 23rd season, Green’s football is still the record-holding ball.
But likely, not for much longer.
“I have resolved myself to enjoying this experience, enjoying the memories that I have from it,” says Greene. “I still think it’s special. I really think it’s special. And I think somebody is going to really want this.”
Last week, the half million dollar sale of what was originally believed to be Brady’s final career touchdown pass in a playoff loss to the Rams was voided by Lelands, which had taken it on consignment from another fan who’d gotten it as one of Evans’ famous gifts. That ball is now being offered privately.
The current bid on the ball Janice Green owns was at $5,500 as of Thursday afternoon with the auction set to run through May 13.