FOXBORO, M.A. (WPRI) — There’s a playoff-like atmosphere at Gillette Stadium, despite it being only Week 4 of the NFL’s regular season.
Fans from all over were milling about on Friday as the excitement continued to build for Sunday night’s game between the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Not only will it be the first time quarterback Tom Brady squares off against his former team in Foxboro — it may also be the last, making tickets a hot commodity.
“This is currently the second most expensive tickets ever sold for a sporting event in Boston, only behind the recent Stanley Cup Game 7 that the (Boston) Bruins played in a couple of years ago,” Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of Holy Cross, said.
In terms of ticket prices, it’s the number-one selling regular season game in the NFL this year.
WPRI caught up with fans from as far away as Tampa and Los Angeles who were in town for the game.
The Patriots held their final practice of the week on Friday. The only absence was running back James White, who was placed on injured reserve with a season-ending hip injury.
On the Bucs’ side, former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for the game and did not travel for his own return to New England.
Both teams are looking to bounce back after losses last week, and that’s clearly been the focus of both teams.
But it’s hard to ignore the intense history behind the matchup.
Speaking to the media Friday morning, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke highly of his longtime quarterback, but in a way that said, ‘please stop asking me about it.’
“We’ve talked about that for two decades,” Belichick said. “I think I’ve been on the record dozens of times saying there’s no quarterback I would rather have than Tom Brady, and I still feel that way.”
On Thursday, Brady spoke equally well of his former play caller.
“He’s a great coach, obviously, a great coach and has everyone prepared,” Brady said. “Does a great job, taught me a lot, was a good mentor to me for a long time, and I really enjoyed my time in New England.”
Kickoff for Sunday’s game is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.