New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reached a milestone in his career Sunday, throwing his 400th touchdown pass. But the touchdown ball itself almost didn’t make it to Brady’s trophy case…
As the Boston Herald reported September 28, Tom Brady joined the elite “400 Club” during Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, throwing touchdown passes numbers 400 and 401. He became only the fourth quarterback in National Football League history to surpass the threshold, joining Dan Moreno, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning in the “Club.” (Technically, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning are in an even loftier “club,” both having passed their way into the “500 Club.”)
Customarily, balls of the moment become trophies and often reside with the record-makers/setters after the games. But Tony Amendola, the Patriots wide receiver that caught the 400th touchdown of Tom Brady’s career appeared to be one of the few that was unaware of the ball’s importance, because he immediately gave the football away to an eager fan.
“I guess Brady will have to go to 500 to get that ball,” New England’s Rob Gronkowski said, laughing. But good a tight end as he is, Gronkowski definitely isn’t psychic…
Tony Amendola said he didn’t realize until he got back to the Patriots sidelines that he’d given away the “400 ball.” According to CBS Sports, a ballboy was immediately sent into the fans to negotiate for the ball’s return. It is unclear what the New England fan got in exchange for the touchdown ball, but it was soon in Brady’s possession. (Insert your own under-inflated joke here — after all, there was a ballboy involved…)
As for Brady himself, he just shrugged off Amendola’s sports faux pas, saying, “It’s just a ball.” He acknowledged Tony Amendola’s great catch and said the receiver could do what he wanted with the ball. (Graciousness is an underrated part of record-setting achievements.)
And just think: If Brady had still been under suspension, he might not have passed the 400 mark until game six, seven, or eight (remember: his suspension for Deflategate spanned the first four games of the season), depending, of course, on his passing in those games. And now he’s just 19 touchdown passes shy of the legendary Dan Marino, who had 420 TDs during his career.
Getting into the “500 Club” will be a bit tougher. At 38, it is unclear how many more seasons Tom Brady will play, but to catch Brett Favre, he has to get to 508. As for Peyton Manning, well… since he also threw two touchdown passes this week, his total now stands at 535. But if there is a quarterback in the NFL that can catch him (besides Aaron Rodgers, who, in his 11th season and just 31 years old), already has 231 TDs), it’s probably Tom Brady.