When Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake threw the football into the stands after his miraculous touchdown to beat New England, it was highly questionable if he would ever get the ball back.
Thanks to Dolphins president Tom Garfinkel and owner Stephen Ross, that prized possession is once again in the Dolphins’ hands.
Here’s the circuitous journey the ball took to end up back with the team:
After Drake scored to complete the 69-yard scoring play to beat the Patriots 34-33 on Dec. 9, Drake lofted the ball into the stands, and a Patriots fan caught it and then reportedly sold it on the spot to a New York Giants fan in the stands for $500. All the while, Drake appealed on social media to get the ball back, offering apparel and game tickets.
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Collectibles executive Brandon Steiner then obtained the ball and told The Palm Beach Post that it was authenticated through witness accounts and a video where the auction seller was seen with the ball.
Steiner Sports put the ball up for auction for 30 days and the winning bidder purchased it for $18,678.
According to a source, Garfinkel asked a friend to make that winning bid, and the friend obliged.
Ross paid for the friend’s bid. And on Drake’s 25th birthday (Jan. 26), Garfinkel informed Drake that the team had the ball back.
Drake revealed the Dolphins had recovered the ball at an NFL honors awards gala on Saturday night, after the Miami Miracle play was recognized as the winner of the Bridgetown Clutch Performance Play of the Year.
“I made a plea out to get the ball,” Drake explained, standing on stage with Kenny Stills. “It sold at auction [for $18,678]. We were actually able to recover the ball. I have it. My team has it. [Garfinkel] wanted to give me the ball. I told him, ‘No, I want this to be at the stadium or the facility so the fans around the world, fans for the Dolphins or any team can come and see it and relish in the moment, because it’s definitely a part of NFL history.’”
Drake called receiving the award “an incredible honor to be here amongst amazing people, amazing athletes. It’s very humbling. The play wouldn’t have gotten started without Kenny catching the ball initially, the lateral to DeVante [Parker] and the lateral to me.
“Seven seconds left, you can never count anybody out. For the fans that stayed, thank you, because it was history and amazing to be a part of it. For the fans that left, it still was an amazing play and you got to see it on TV.”
The ball will be displayed at Hard Rock Stadium.
That joyful day ended up being the Dolphins’ final victory in a 7-9 season.