Deflategate ball tops $43,000 at Lelands sports auction
A ball used during the notorious 'Deflaregate' game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts has fetched a five-figure sum at auction.
Described as "the ball that will live in infamy", the ball was offered as one of the star lots in the Leland's Summer Sale of sports memorabilia. It was one of the allegedly underinflated balls used by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in their AFC Championship game win, which quickly spiralled into a nationwide controversy.
As a result of an investigation, the Patriots were stripped of two draft picks and fined for harming the "integrity of the game", and quarterback Brady was banned for four games.
"The historical importance of this piece cannot be understated," said the auction house, prior to the sale. "It is the most 'topical' piece of sports memorabilia that we can recall ever being sold so close to the event itself."
The lucky consignors of the ball were Laura Nichols and her husband Matt, New England fans who were given the ball by receiver Brandon LaFell following a touchdown by LeGarrette Blount.
"As Blount exited the back of the end zone, directly in front of us, he dropped the ball behind him to go celebrate with the 'Minutemen' who fire muskets off when the Patriots score," stated the couple. "Then, receiver Brandon LaFell walked up to the ball, picked it up, and handed it to us. We celebrated by jumping up and down, and taking multiple photos with the ball."
The Nichols then returned home , unaware that their souvenir was about to become a piece of controversial sporting history. Reports of the illegally deflated balls soon hit the headlines, and when the official Wells report stated the deflated balls had been reused in the second half of the game – when Laura and Matt had been given their ball – they realized they might have something valuable.
Having been consigned to auction with sports memorabilia specialists Lelands, the ball crossed the block on Friday July 17 and sold for an impressive $43,739.
The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.
Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.
Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.