NEW YORK (Reuters) - One of the balls used by the New England Patriots in the NFL’s 2015 AFC Championship game, in which the team was infamously found to have deflated footballs, sold for more than $40,000 in an auction on Saturday.
The winning bidder paid $43,740 for the ball, which receiver Brandon LaFell had handed to a couple in the crowd after a Patriots touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts in January.
The National Football League (NFL) later fined the Patriots $1 million for deflating footballs in their 45-7 victory, a win that put them in the 2015 Super Bowl, where they then went on to defeat the Seattle Seahawks. Both victories have since been tainted by the “Deflategate” scandal.
New England quarterback Tom Brady received a four-game suspension for being aware of the plan to deflate the footballs, although Brady himself has denied having any knowledge.
“The ball that will live in infamy,” was how auction house Lelands.com described the football.
“The historical importance of this piece cannot be understated. It is the most ‘topical’ piece of sports memorabilia that we can recall ever being sold so close to the event itself,” it said.
Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Scott Malone and Susan Fenton