The broadcasters and writers knew it. Fans who’d been paying attention to Tom Brady’s career stats knew it. Brady’s teammate Mike Evans was apparently not clued in to the fact that his quarterback was closing in non 600 career touchdown passes.
Brady hits Mike Evans for his 600th career passing TD 🐐
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 24, 2021
After Evans caught the milestone pass from Brady during Sunday’s game against the Bears, he casually handed it to a fan sitting in the first row. Under most circumstances it would have been a nice gesture. One that had some value, too. In this case, it was a piece of NFL history worth a half million dollars or more.
The face when you throw Tom Brady’s 600th career TD ball into the crowd 😂
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 24, 2021
Bucs negotiated with a fan to get the 600th TD ball back for Tom Brady/HOF. Guy swapped it for another ball and “some kind of signed jersey” per @tracywolfson.
Nantz and Romo absolutely killing him.
“That’s a bad deal.”
“That’s a TERRIBLE deal!”
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 24, 2021
While CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Tony Romo couldn’t believe what they were seeing and social media began to take hold, the Buccaneers sprang into action. Locating the fan, identified by a Bucs’ beat reporter as 29-year-old Byron Kennedy, a doctor at Largo Medical Center, a staff member succeeded in getting the ball back. The team gave Kennedy another ball and the promise of more swag to come in appreciation for handing it over.
Mike Evans accidentally gave a fan Tom Brady’s 600th TD ball and the Bucs had to negotiate to get it back 😅
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 24, 2021
Kennedy was wearing an Evans 13 Bucs jersey in front row in end zone, yelled “BIG MIKE” when he caught TD and got the ball from him. Just his second Bucs game in person.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 24, 2021
St. Pete High alum Byron Kennedy (13) was given Brady’s 600th TD ball after Mike Evans handed it to him. He gave it back (on Brady’s request). He’s here today with buddy Riley Carvalis. Kennedy’s a resident at Largo Medical Center. Story to come. #Bucs @StPeteHigh pic.twitter.com/FpNvtIOLnt
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) October 24, 2021
Kennedy told reporters he was told that Brady “really wanted the ball back” and that after turning down the request twice, he finally gave in and handed the ball over, not wanting to turn down the hometown quarterback.
“That’s pretty cool,” Brady said after the game. “He’s going to get something nice. We’ll get him a helmet and a couple of jerseys and some other stuff.”
It was reported late Monday that the Bucs were putting together a package that included the helmet and jerseys, along with season tickets through next year, a signed Evans’ jersey and the cleats he wore in the game along with a $1,000 gift certificate to the Bucs’ team store. Kennedy told NFL Network what he really wanted:
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 25, 2021
On Monday night, Brady said he was also giving Kennedy a bitcoin (currently valued at over $60,000) and potentially more in future years.
Through Brady’s autograph deal with Fanatics, signed helmets, jerseys and footballs typically sell for $2,000-$3,500 depending on the item and whether it’s inscribed.
While sports teams will often compensate fans who find up with some sort of memorabilia, rarely does it match the potential auction value of the item. Some fans don’t care, indicating the player deserves the milestone home run ball or other item, and willingly accept whatever the team offers or what they’re able to negotiate themselves.
In this case, the Bucs got off easy.
Believe it or not, it wasn’t the first milestone Brady pass that one of his receivers gave away. The first time it happened, the ball stayed with the fan who caught it.
Brady’s first career touchdown pass, heaved into the stands by New England Patriots receiver Terry Glenn 20 years ago, sold earlier this year for $428,842 in the same auction in which a 2000 Playoff Contenders Brady rookie card sold for $3.1 million.
Would the 600th TD pass ball have sold for as much or more?
Whatever Kennedy receives for giving it back, though, isn’t likely to match it.