The 2021 NFL schedule was officially revealed Wednesday night, and no game will have a bigger buildup or more hype surrounding it than Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady returning to Gillette Stadium to face his former team, the New England Patriots.
Brady spent 20 years with the Patriots and won six Super Bowl titles before leaving New England to join Tampa Bay as a free agent in 2020. The 43-year-old quarterback won his seventh championship after leading the Bucs to a Super Bowl LV victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last season.
There will be no shortage of storylines entering this matchup, which might be the biggest regular season game in Boston sports history.
So, why did the league choose Week 4 for this matchup?
VP of NFL Broadcast Planning, Mike North, joined NFL Network's "Good Morning Football" show Thursday and detailed what went into the decision.
"It's just kind of like, the right time. You're not too far down the road where either of these teams' season stories is already told," North said, as transcribed by ESPN's Mike Reiss. "You probably have less of a risk of an injury for any of the big players. Maybe less of a risk of weather -- we don't want the big Tom Brady return game to be a story about a Nor'Easter in Boston."
Check out North's complete answer in the tweet below:
Week 4 makes sense, for the reasons North explained above, among others.
History could also be on the line for Brady in his return to Foxboro. He is 1,154 passing yards behind former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for the league's career record. This means Brady needs to average around 290 yards per game to break Brees' record in Week 4 against the Patriots.
It's just another layer to what will be one of the most anticipated Patriots games in team history.