Matt and Laura Nichols of Medford, MA, were at that fateful game, and they managed to end up with one of the deflated footballs. They are putting it up for auction on Lelands.com, with a reserve bid of $25,000.
Matt Nichols told CNBC he and his wife paid about $400 a piece for seats in the end zone that day. "This was a huge deal for us. We are not wealthy people." Here's how they got their hands on that ball.
In the second half, Brady handed the ball to LeGarrette Blount, who ran it into the end zone for a touchdown. Blount dropped the ball to celebrate. It was then picked up by receiver Brandon LaFell, who then handed it to Laura Nichols—because she and her husband were holding up a sign which said "Can't Beat the Pats."
Matt Nichols said, "We celebrated by jumping up and down, and taking multiple photos with the ball." They left the game during the fourth quarter to make sure nothing happened to it.
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Nichols said that he and his wife originally planned "to keep that football forever, probably have it on a shelf at home." After the Deflategate scandal broke, he still didn't think their football was special since they'd received it in the second half, after the officials swapped balls.
Except the balls in the Nichols' possession were not swapped. The Wells Report indicates the second half balls were the same under-inflated balls used in the first half, just reflated.
Next came a very serious discussion about what to do. "We're both really big Patriots fans," said Matt. However, they're also newlyweds, and they began thinking,"Maybe if the price is right, maybe we do part with this."
He began reaching out to auction houses, sending them photos of the football which bore a "Patriots" stamp and was also marked "WA" for referee Walt Anderson. The Nichols also sent Lelands photos of the two of them at the game with the ball, and the couple could be seen in the background of video from the game holding up their sign. "You could see us clear as day."