The signed card from Tom Brady’s rookie season with the New England Patriots is one of “only a handful ever offered for sale”; another card from the 43-year-old’s rookie season fetched $1.32m in an online auction last month
Last Updated: 04/04/21 8:05am
The so-called “Holy Grail” of Tom Brady’s rookie cards sold for a record $2.25m at auction on Friday to an anonymous buyer, two months after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback picked up his seventh Super Bowl title.
The signed card from the 43-year-old’s rookie season with the New England Patriots is one of “only a handful ever offered for sale,” according to auctioneer Lelands, which called it the best Tom Brady rookie card available to the public.
The sale smashes the previous record price for a football card. Last month, another card from Brady’s rookie season fetched $1.32m in an online auction.
“Tom Brady continues to shatter records both on and off the football field. The GOAT, Brady now holds the distinction of having the most expensive football card ever sold,” Lelands President Mike Heffner said in a written statement, calling the card “one for the ages”.
Brady, who picked up his fifth Super Bowl MVP honours in February after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at home in the championship game, is one of just two quarterbacks to have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy with two different teams and is widely considered one of the greatest ever to play the game.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht says he is delighted to retain all 22 starters from a star-studded roster assembled around Tom Brady.
Coach Bruce Arians cites a winning culture fostered with help from quarterback Brady and a highly regarded coaching staff that also remains intact as maybe the biggest factor contributing to the Bucs holding on to seven key players who could have departed in free agency this spring.
“I can’t really point to a single factor, but I think everybody wanted to be back,” Licht said. “Everybody’s getting paid fairly, but everybody’s very excited to try to (win) it again.
“We’re going to be in good shape if we continue to make sure we make smart decisions and do things right.”
The first major move in a busy offseason was placing the franchise tag on wide receiver Chris Godwin.
From there, Licht proceeded to negotiate multi-year contracts for linebackers Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett and kicker Ryan Succop, as well as one-year deals to keep tight end Rob Gronkowski, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, and running back Leonard Fournette.
They have kept all their starters, although reserve wideout Antonio Brown remains unsigned, and could well be a notable free agent still on the market.
“We’re going to take our time. There’s offers out there, and we’ll see how it goes,” Arians said.
The Bucs will also pick up the fifth-year option on mammoth defensive tackle Vita Vea. That would place the 12th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft under contract for 2022 at $7.6m.
Vea played in just five regular-season games in 2020 after suffering a right ankle injury in a contest against the Chicago Bears.
He returned to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers and the Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He plays a very pivotal role in our defense,” Licht told reporters. “When he’s in there, a lot of things happen, not just for him but everybody else around him. The day that we found out that he was gonna come back and play, it was a very big day for all of us, a very exciting day – coaches, players, scouts, owners, everybody. We were all very excited.”
Vea, 26, has 73 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 34 games (29 starts) over three NFL seasons. Just as important as the numbers is that he often clogs the interior of the line with his 6ft 4inch, 347-pound frame.