It's a exceptional piece of sports history that has been with the seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, since the game on Oct. 14, 2001, when the New England Patriots played the San Diego Chargers.
The seller grew up in Rhode Island and has gone to Patriots matches since the late 1970s with his loved ones. He and three of his high school friends first bought season tickets in 1992 as school students and have retained the tickets to this day.
He is a loyal fan of the Patriots and jokes that his wife almost divorced him 100 times due to how devoted he was on the Sunday games and tailgates together with friends.
In the beginning, the tailgates were what the group of buddies looked forward to as the Patriots went 2-14 in 1992 and 5-11 in 1993. The group had enhanced by the 2001 season, but the 25 to 30 buddies still appreciated the tailgate.
On that fall day in October, the vendor made his way to gap 11 right when the parking lot opened in the afternoon. Finally they dispersed to their individual chairs and the vendor made his way down near the area in the south end zone.
"Looking from the 50-yard line to the south end zone, the abandoned field goal post, I stumbled on the left of this," the seller said." I caught a great deal of balls in that arena because he would miss field objectives."
The game was only the next one Brady started after Drew Bledsoe was hurt in the second game of the year against the New York Jets, so most Patriots fans didn't have high expectations for Brady. From the moment Bledsoe was hurt, however, the seller tried to convince his friends Brady was likely to be the man going forward, although he met with much resistance from his audience.
The Patriots were driving at the San Diego 21-yard line when Brady took the snap, appeared for Terry Glenn the entire play and threw a dart to him in the front of the end zone. He then made his way near the back of the end zone and threw the ball into the audience.
"It was a melee. I stood up in my chair, I pushed my buddy to my left," the vendor said. "The other two men, I handed them my beer at a gentle manner. I jumped , tussled with a group of other enthusiasts around me and that I came back with the ball."
At the time, it was only another soccer. He had been excited he'd caught the ball and proud to see , at age 29, he had hands out of his high school football days.
It wasn't until he went to the postgame tailgate, when he opened his trunk to show the soccer off to his buddies, that one of them reminded him that it was Brady's first touchdown.
He also kept the ball in a safe place in his home and even played a very cautious game of catch with the football in the backyard. It wasn't until the end of the 2003 year, when New England beat the Carolina Panthers from the Super Bowl, the vendor knew that he had something particular.
Immediately after that game, he put the ball in a safety deposit box in his local bank. There it remained, rarely brought out of its safekeeping. The ball turned into something of a superstition for the seller and his pals, as he'd take it out the Saturday before each Super Bowl the Patriots seemed , have a photo of it and send it to his pals.
The Patriots have lost the Super Bowl just once when the seller took an image of the ball, and they had been 0-2 in the 2 games when he didn't.
"I had been out of town for the Philly game [in 2017], and I just overlooked the bank final for the Giants match [in 2007]," the seller said. "I'd kids' sports and simply couldn't get there until the bank closed. That is what triggered the David Tyree helmet catch, because I could not take a picture of the ball"
As time passed, and with neither of the seller's kids expressing interest in keeping the ball in the family, they decided it was time to move on and allow someone else to enjoy this piece of history.
Lelands has photo-verified the football predicated on writing and markers on the football that was specific to the Patriots in the time. As Glenn celebrated in the end zone, a photographer captured the moment with Glenn holding the football with the laces out and the markings clearly shown. There are four major points that were identified on the ball. The Patriots composed"PATS" in mark on one side of the ball near the laces, two dots towards the end of the laces, the letters"L" and"N" on one side and a two-digit amount on the other side identifying which game ball it was to that afternoon.
"You may see the precise marks where the composing on the ball in the photo matches the ball which we are about to provide," Lelands director of acquisitions Jordan Gilroy stated. "It's incredible that there was a photographer that near him at that moment in time. Everything in that situation was ideal, and we definitely did our due diligence to be certain that it is one."
Lelands formerly sold the infamous football from the Patriots' AFC Championship Game defeat of the Colts in 2014, after which New England was accused of deflating footballs to gain an edge.
Gilroy and the seller do not have a realistic gauge for the amount this ball could bring in, but he states it is not in precisely the exact same dialog as the Deflategate ball.
The timing is appropriate to get top dollar for this kind of item because the sports card and memorabilia hobby has exploded in the past year. Lelands sold an autographed Tom Brady Panini Playoff Contenders Championship Ticket beginner card for $2.25 million in April, which broke the record for its highest-selling football card.
That card has been graded as a 8.5, and the auction house now has the exact same card graded as a 9 up for auction on Sunday too. There are just seven of those cards rated as a 9, so the expectation is that this card will eclipse the $2.25 million price tag from April.
As rare as this card is, this football is a true one of one and can't be reproduced or re-created.
"For Tom Brady's soccer to be available and owned by an average fan is unbelievable," Gilroy said. "It's a piece of soccer history, and I think 10, 20, 30 years from now and Brady's legacy is remembered even more, such as Michael Jordan is currently, it is just going to rise in value. The fact that this chunk is probably going to a personal collection and might not see the light of day , it might be the last time it ever sells."
The seller hasn't thought much about what could happen if Brady telephoned him to attempt to put the ball into his personal group, and he doesn't have an expectation for what the ball could bring at auction when it ends on June 4.
Since he is a loyal Patriots fan along with the ball means a lot to him, the vendor wishes only it is going to go to the right enthusiast.
"Somebody that has a location that may place it on their mantel, tell the story of how they got the ball," the seller said. "My whole goal is to get it in the ideal enthusiast's hands that will enjoy telling their family and friends they have the ball. It is a slice of history you never see, but some of these fantastic pieces of history need to be in the fans' hands, therefore I wish to get it to the right person that will enjoy it the way I've."