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The NFL world has erupted after superstar quarterback Tom Brady announced his comeback to the sport, following an incredibly short-lived retirement.
Fans were elated by the news the seven-time Super Bowl champion would be returning to the sport - but there's one hardcore fan out there sporting a very light wallet and some expensive memorabilia that has quickly become a huge joke.
A fan in possession of the last ball Tom Brady used to throw a touchdown pass made an absolute mint at auction on Sunday evening - selling the ball for a whopping $518,628 (USD), or roughly $700,000 in Australian dollars.
The new owner of what, at that particular moment, was a piece of sports history would have been elated, until Brady pulled the rug out from under them on Monday morning.
With Brady announcing his return to the NFL, that half a million dollar ball will likely see its once immense value plummet - much to the amusement of some fans on social media.
The ball only ended up in the first fan's possession after Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans thanks to his longstanding tradition of giving touchdown passes to fans.
Of course, on social media the new owner of what was, at least temporarily, a slice of NFL history has found themselves the unfortunate subject of mockery online.
The guy who just dropped $518,000 on Tom Brady's "final touchdown ball" just hours before Brady came out of retirement. pic.twitter.com/ZfQ96nzWB1
— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) March 14, 2022
Yesterday #TomBrady ‘s “final”touchdown ball sold for $518,000
Today, Brady announced his return the the NFL
Soooo…if you think you’re having a bad day, just remember, at least it’s not a $518,000 loss kinda bad day
— Alyx Ander (@iamalyxander) March 14, 2022
My theory is that Tom Brady has some deep-seated hatred of the guy who bought his last TD ball. Someone start digging into this. This could be revenge decades in the making.
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) March 14, 2022
People asking “What will the dude who bought Tom Brady’s last touchdown ball do?”
Guy had half a million to blow on a football, I think he’s gonna have a laugh and light up a cigar with a lit $100 bill. He’ll be fine
— Joe (@JoeRiveraSN) March 14, 2022
Well I got the ball that Tom Brady threw for his last ever touchdown. Sure was a lot of money, but at least I have a piece of football histor—*phone beeps* pic.twitter.com/UgPI6chiEz
— Patrick Monahan (@pattymo) March 13, 2022
With 3:20 remaining in what was previously believed to be Brady's final game, Brady found Evans for a 55-yard touchdown that cut Tampa Bay's deficit to 27-20.
Evans, as is his practice, immediately flipped the ball into the end zone as a souvenir for a Bucs fan.
The Rams went on to a 30-27 win, and Brady wouldn't throw another touchdown pass. With Brady's temporary retirement announced in January, the ball Evans casually tossed away gained tremendous value — momentarily, at least.
Tom Brady announces surprise NFL comeback for Tampa Bay
The seven-time Super Bowl champion tweeted on Sunday in the United States (Monday AEDT) that he has unfinished business and that he's returning for a 23rd season overall - and third with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"These past two months I’ve realised my place is still on the field and not in the stands," Brady posted.
"That time will come. But it’s not now. I love my teammates, and I love my supportive family. They make it all possible.
"I’m coming back for my 23rd season in Tampa. Unfinished business."
The announcement comes nearly six weeks after Brady said he was retiring, bringing to an end of the greatest careers in NFL history.
Speculation about Brady's future began swirling after he was spotted at Old Trafford to watch Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat-trick in a 3-2 Premier League victory over Tottenham on the weekend.
The two superstars could be seen chatting to one another after the match, when Ronaldo appeared to ask Brady whether he was "finished"?
In response, Brady gritted his teeth and gave a wry smile to Ronaldo to suggest that maybe he wasn't quite finished.
The six-time Super Bowl champ's confirmation on Monday unsurprisingly sent social media into meltdown.
Less than two months ago, Brady called time on his 22-year career in the NFL after paying a beautiful tribute to his wife in the process.
Widely considered the greatest player in NFL history, Brady ended a mountain of speculation by confirming his retirement.
The 44-year-old spent 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, winning six Super Bowl titles, before relocating to Tampa Bay and leading the Bucs to a championship last season.
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