Sunday night's Week 4 matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium is not just another game.
Not even close.
Sure, it counts the same in the standings as any other regular season contest, but Tom Brady's much-anticipated return to New England will create an atmosphere in Foxboro rarely seen in pro sports.
“(For) 98% of these guys, it’s just another game. We’re playing an AFC team on the road and we need a road win,” Arians told reporters at a press conference Monday.
“But for two of them, it’s huge. It’s the biggest story nationally, and that’s all they’ll hear about all week, but that ain’t got a damn thing to do with their job. Just get yourself prepared to play and beat the Patriots, and let all the hoopla take care of itself.”
Arians is absolutely right, for two guys it's a huge deal and not just another game. And let's not forget there are two players in the spotlight here.
Yes, Brady going back to Foxboro is obviously a massive story. He helped the Patriots win six Super Bowl titles during his 20 years playing for the Patriots. He's the greatest quarterback in NFL history.
Rob Gronkowski's return shouldn't be overlooked, though. He's arguably the greatest tight end in league history and played a key role on three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England. His story has flown under the radar in the buildup to this game.
Kickoff for Pats-Bucs is set for 8:20 p.m. ET on Sunday night. For many fans, it can't come soon enough.