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The Fan Who Returned Tom Brady’s 600th Touchdown Ball Made a Big Mistake




Byron Kennedy donned his Mike Evans jersey and went to the Raymond James Stadium to take a front row seat for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers match against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. At the time, the 29-year-old Bucs fan had no idea that he would be getting an incredibly valuable piece of sports memorabilia before he voluntarily decided to give it up.

Bucs quarterback Tom Brady came into the game against the Bears with an NFL record of 598 touchdowns. With two touchdown throws, Brady would become the first player in NFL history to throw 600 TDs. After throwing his first touchdown to Chris Godwin a few minutes earlier, Brady enabled himself to make it to the round number when the Bucs took advantage of a fumble in Chicago towards the end of the first quarter.

On 3rd and 7th of the 9-yard line, Brady fell back to pass and hit Evans for the TD. Evans apparently didn’t realize this was touchdown No. 600 as he ran to the back of the end zone and passed the ball to Kennedy, the fan in his jersey in the stands.

Minutes later, a Bucs staffer approached Kennedy to get the ball back for Brady. Kennedy agreed and gave up. That was a costly decision.

CBS side reporter Tracy Wolfson got the first scoop, saying the Bucs would send Kennedy another ball and an autographed jersey. Announcers Tony Romo and Jim Nantz immediately exclaimed: that’s a bad deal! and, well, they’re not wrong.

The market for sports memorabilia is: hot straight away. How much could Kennedy have sold the ball for? He was almost certainly looking at something in the six-digit range. An auctioneer estimated that the ball could have fetched $600K in the open market.

Brady was asked to get the ball back in the post-game press conference after the Bucs won a 38-3 loss over the Bears.

Brady said he doesn’t keep too many things out of games, but he wanted to keep this touchdown ball. He said he would give Kennedy something nice in return. Athletics Greg Auman reported: the fan received a $1K gift card to the Bucs team store in addition to a replacement ball.

The Tampa Bay Times caught up with Kennedy after the game. He said he was hesitant to give up the ball, but eventually did it out of respect for Brady.

I knew how much it meant to Tom, Kennedy said, getting another ball after handing the historic one, and I was willing to trade.

Kennedy is a better guy than me because I would run out of the stadium as soon as I got that ball. Imagine giving up possibly half a million dollars. He must be sick. Thankfully, it sounds like Kennedy has a pretty good career ahead of himself.

Our favorite part of this whole incident? Mike Evans realized it was a pretty important touchdown ball he was giving away.

It didn’t turn out to be a costly mistake for Evans in the end, but giving the ball away was certainly one for Kennedy.




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