What Happens When Tom Brady’s Last Touchdown Pass Isn’t His Last One After All?

One auction house found out

Tom Brady
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Raymond James Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

For a span of 41 days, Tom Brady was retired from professional football. Then he wasn’t anymore. Brady’s return from retirement is one of the highest-profile examples of an athlete doing so — though admittedly, he wasn’t away from the sport for as long as, say, Michael Jordan was when he made his comeback. Still, there was a period for a little over a month when most laypeople could safely assume that Brady’s career had reached its ending.

Cinema buffs may recall the opening scene of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, in which Ricky Jay’s narrator rattles off an escalating series of bizarrely coincidental real-life occurrences. Something very similar happened with respect to Brady’s retirement: less than 24 hours before Brady announced his return to the game, an auction at Lelands related to his career reached its end.

At the time that this auction was taking place, the object being sold was the ball that Brady had thrown for his last touchdown. By the end of the day on March 13, it had become a ball that Brady had thrown for a touchdown. Still, certainly, something that a fan of Brady’s might want in their collection — but not something someone would pay over half a million dollars for.

Except, of course, that someone did exactly that. Now, as noted by The Athletic, the auction house and buyer have mutually agreed to void the sale of the ball in question, which had been purchased for $518,000.

Lelands president Mike Heffner told ESPN, “It’s the most unique situation that we’ll probably ever encounter in our lifetimes.” That sounds about right, unless Brady un-retires again after he does retire. Which, at this point, seems as likely as anything.

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