Tom Brady has played at Gillette Stadium many, many times in his 22-year NFL career, but Sunday night's Week 4 game will be much different than all the previous matchups.
The 44-year-old quarterback is returning to Foxboro to play against the New England Patriots as an opponent for the first time. Brady, of course, left the Patriots as a free agent in 2020 and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He led them to a Super Bowl LV title in his first year.
On the latest episode of the "Let's Go!" podcast on SiriusXM released Monday night, Brady detailed the uniqueness of his upcoming trip to New England.
"There are different emotions that are queued by different experiences and feelings. When I think of 20 years in one place, I know that locker room, I know that home locker room, I know that home tunnel, I know which way the wind blows, I know everything about that [place]," Brady told host Jim Gray.
"I know the way it smells. I know what a night game's like, I know what the fans are gonna sound like. So in some ways, that'll be really unique. I've never had that experience going to -- it'll be a first time for me being on the other sideline."
Even though emotions will be running high and it likely will be impossible not to think about the past a little bit before, during and after this game, Brady isn't interested in doing a career retrospective Sunday night. After all, he's still writing chapters in his football career.
"I'm not going to necessarily reminisce. I don't think this is the moment for that," Brady explained. "I'll have plenty opportunities to reminisce about my football career. None of it, none of which I really care to do right now because I'm so much in the moment. I'm not going to be thinking about 20 years of history.
"I'm going to be thinking about one night of football, a Sunday night game coming off a really tough loss. They're coming off a really tough loss. So both teams are going to be fighting and clawing for a win."
Aside from the obvious historical significance of the game and emotions around Brady's return, it's actually a really important contest for these teams.
A loss would drop the Patriots to 1-3, thus making their fight to return to the AFC playoffs even harder. A defeat for the Bucs would even their record at 2-2, which wouldn't be ideal given the competitiveness of the NFC.
There will be plenty of emotions on both sides Sunday night, but once the game starts, we should see some of the most intense 60-minute action of the entire 2021 regular season.