Patriots-used deflate-gate ball put up for auction

Matt and Laura Nichols (photo via Lelands.com)
Matt and Laura Nichols (photo via Lelands.com)

You (yes, you) can own a piece of deflate-gate history.

According to ESPN.com, a couple that was handed a New England Patriots-used ball by wide receiver Brandon LaFell in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game has put the ball up for auction.

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The couple, Laura and Matt Nichols, sat in the first row in the end zone during the Jan. 18 game at Gillette Stadium. After a LeGarrette Blount touchdown run put the Patriots up 37-7 late in the third quarter, LaFell picked up the ball and handed it to Laura, she said. 

At first, they weren’t sure if the ball was one of the controversial underinflated balls that resulted in a $1 million fine and forfeiture of draft picks for the team and suspension of quarterback Tom Brady. But the release of the Wells Report confirmed it was.

From ESPN.com:

Originally, the couple thought the ball was a backup ball brought in for the second half after officials found the Patriots' balls in the first half to be underinflated, as had been originally reported by the media. But the NFL-commissioned report by Ted Wells confirmed that the 12 balls used in the first half were simply re-inflated for the second half.

"Once we found that out, we knew we had a Deflategate ball," Matt Nichols said.

The two told ESPN that they have “mixed feelings” about selling the ball, but would “rather have the money than have it sit on some shelf in their house.”

[ThePostGame: Maurice Jones-Drew: Why Deflategate won't tarnish Brady legacy]

The ball has been consigned to online auction house Lelands.com for an auction that ends July 17. The starting bid is $25,000 and Joshua Evans, founder of Lelands.com, told ESPN.com that he could see the ball selling for “six figures.”

There is no word on the current or former status of the ball’s PSI.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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