Could Buccaneers have compelled return of Brady’s 600th touchdown ball?

Chicago Bears v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty Images

When Tom Brady threw his first career touchdown pass on October 14, 2001, Terry Glenn threw the ball into the stands. The fan who got it sold it earlier this year for more than $425,000.

On Sunday, the fan who was handed the ball from Brady’s 600th career touchdown gave it back, before negotiating fair and appropriate compensation. Although he wanted to play golf with Brady, he’s getting a variety of stuff. Still, he’s receiving nothing close to the $500,000 estimated value of the ball.

Once the guy surrendered possession of the ball, he lost his leverage. The smart move, frankly, would have been to immediately leave the game the moment he received the ball, while also taking steps to create a clear record of custody for future authentication purposes. (The fact that Tampa Bay balls have a Buccaneers logo would have made that easier. [Insert possible deflation joke here.]) No one wants to leave a game early, but Mike Evans had surrendered to the fan a souvenir that happens to be worth a lot of money, to Brady or to someone else.

So what if the fan had refused to give the ball back to the Buccaneers? Could the team have forced the surrender of the ball? We’ve reviewed the online policies for game day and season pass tickets; both are silent on the issue of materials that end up in the stands, whether thrown or kicked or gifted. That would make it harder for the Bucs to take a hardline position. And while I’m not an expert on matters of Florida personal property law (or at this point any type of law in any other state), I’m aware of nothing that would allow someone to rescind a freely-given gift and legally compel its return.

Really, it was for the Buccaneers to alert their players to not do something like hand Brady’s 600th touchdown pass to a fan. Once the ball was given to the fan, the ball was his. Reasonable minds may differ on whether the guy should have given the ball back, but the reality is that he gave back something that was incredibly valuable. Arguably without getting anything close to fair value in return.

Especially since, if push had come to shove, the Bucs likely couldn’t have forced the guy to give the ball back. And he then could have sold it. For a whole lot of money.

19 responses to “Could Buccaneers have compelled return of Brady’s 600th touchdown ball?

  1. Would come down to whether the club (or league?) owns the balls. And if so, whether Evans had authority to transfer club property. Assuming he hasn’t been made a vice president lately . . . he probably lacked authority and the transfer was invalid. But sure seems like that argument would be a PR nightmare.

  2. Imagine being that guy and realizing you lost 500k handing that ball back. Brady has all the $ in the world. Should’ve hooked that guy up at least once little bit.

  3. Must everything be about money all the time? I think the guy did the right thing, he gave the ball back and asked for a less valuable ball. He then asks for a cool experience to play golf with the goat. Once you’re older than 10 years old you shouldn’t want a jersey (unless a signed TB12 jersey framed for the office) Let’s celebrate someone doing the right thing and being pretty cool about it. Brady doesn’t owe him any money, the Bucs hooked him up with season tickets for two seasons $1000 credit in the shop and some gear. Sounds like it ended like it should.

  4. Instead he is getting a few autographed jerseys, game worn cleats and season tickets. Coming to a total of about 1% of the balls real value. He did the right thing, so I hope Brady and the Bucs do too and up the value of his reward.

  5. Since the fan surrendered the ball under duress he has an excellent legal case and should seek counsel as soon as possible!

  6. Ok ,forget about the 600 td pass…the guy who got the 425 k was because it was TOMS FIRST TD pass…who knew then he was GOING to be the GOAT? That ball was waaaaayyy more valuable.

  7. He taught his son a lesson in integrity and honour. It’s those that lack those morales and values, which ridicule him for not securing more favorable financial terms.

    Which hospital won’t want to hire this guy once he finishes up his schooling.

  8. The commentator said that the players who gave away the game ball will be fined by the league and have to pay for the ball. This means that once the ball changed hands from player to fan, the ball ceased to became properties of the league and team.

  9. Funny how people are quick to give away other people’s money. Lot of that going around these days.

    If you are well to do they yeah, you give the ball back for a few trinkets. But what if you have a leaky roof, your employer may be going out of business, and inflation is making each grocery trip harder and harder. Tell me then that you are giving the ball away for peanuts.

  10. >> anonymous135 says: Which hospital won’t want to hire this guy once he finishes up his schooling. <<

    Which wife wouldn't bring up the $500K every time she see the jerseys and cleats?

  11. Why should Brady have to pay for Evans’s mistake? Brady didn’t give away a ball worth over $500,000, it was Evans that did that.

  12. You say leave the game immediately but I have a question, how long after Evans handed him the ball did the guy realize it was Brady’s 600? Is he a superfan who was specifically drawn to this game because of the opportunity to witness the event or did he get tickets from his buddy? I am in no way saying that answer should, in any way, weaken or strengthen any debate on the ball, just more of a curiosity. Like did he get the ball, sit down and then someone tapped him on the shoulder or again, did he know he was watching the 600 right as it happened in his lap?

  13. Who cares the guy did the right thing and gave it to Brady. It was Brady’s achievement not his. Does everything have to revolve around money and potential lawsuits?

    Why would anyone want sports memorabilia heralding someone else’s achievement?

  14. Can’t wait for Brady to call it a career. So sick of the league being about him. He has not played in the NFL in a system that was not his. I’d like to see him be forced to run an offense that he didn’t cherry pick.

  15. Lesepi- Do you watch NFL? ALL offenses are designed to maximize the QB’s ability? Eagles use RPO because Hurts is not a good pocket passer, Big Ben does do a lot of running because he’s no Lamar. Heck, look at the Seahawks last night. Geno couldn’t run Wilson’s offense due to his lack of skills. Bucs ran their offense mostly and were 7-5, the adapted to Brady’s needs and they won 14 of last 15.

  16. I always wondered how you prove a ball is that ball ? the buc’s logo can only mean so much
    lot’s of balls have that the article wimped out by not explaining how that’s done very well .

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.