Deflategate ball given to Patriots fans at AFC title game up for auction
A football used during the second half of the AFC Championship Game has been put up for auction by the fans who obtained it while attending the showdown between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts on Jan. 18, the game that launched the Deflategate controversy.
Patriots fan Laura Nichols and her husband Matt were seated in the end zone section of Gillette Stadium when LeGarrette Blount scored on a 13-yard touchdown run during the third quarter. Pats wide receiver Brandon LeFell then handed the ball to Nichols.
“LaFell picked up the ball, I pointed at him, he pointed at me and he handed me the ball,” Nichols said, via a report from ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “It was all so surreal.”
Upon confirming via information gleaned from the Ted Wells Report that the ball was in fact one of the 12 controversial pieces of pigskin that launched Deflategate, the Nichols — who have mixed emotions about the ball — knew they had prized piece of memorabilia. They have now decided to consign it to the Lelands online auction house. The minimum bid allowed on the football is $25,000.
The listing reads in part:
Detailed notarized letter explaining how the ball was obtained is included, along with Laura’s “Golden Ticket” stub. Photo of them posing with the ball directly after their good fortune handoff is shown here. Ball is an Official NFL gamer featuring imprint of Roger Goodell’s facsimile signature and most importantly referee Walt Anderson’s initials in gold Sharpie. The ball also shows “PATRIOTS” faintly imprinted in black just below the seam under the NFL shield. The historical importance of this piece cannot be understated.
“This is a ‘wow’ type of collectible,” said Lelands.com founder and chairman Joshua Evans. “This is one of the best conversation pieces that has ever been sold.”
Evans would know a thing or two about a “wow” collectible, as Lelands is the auction house that sold the infamous Bill Buckner ball from the 1986 World Series. That item sold for a whopping $93,000 to Charlie Sheen, of all people. Evans expects a similar amount of monetary interest for the Deflategate ball, if not more.
“I could see this ball getting six figures,” he said, suggesting that the football may be the only one from the Deflategate game available to the public.
Bidding on the item will close on July 17.
(image credit: Laura Nichols via Lelands)