With the Tom Brady- Peyton Manning rivalry so well documented, there's no doubt Sunday's AFC Championship game comes with added significance to the two first-ballot Hall of Famers.
It will be their 15th head-to-head meeting and fourth in the post-season (Sunday at 2pm et/11am pt on CTV) and for his part, Brady isn't downplaying just how big the game is for him.
"I'm excited - It's everything you could ask for as an athlete," the New England Patriots quarterback told WEEI Radio in Boston on Monday. "We have a great opportunity ahead of us. It would be as satisfying a victory as we've ever had to go to Denver and win this game."
With a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, there's no shortage of motivation for Sunday's game, but it's another chance for the two to stake claim to the title best QB of their generation. Brady owns the series edge over Manning 10-4 and is 2-1 head-to-head in the postseason. Sunday's game will tie the two for most postseason meetings with other iconic rivals Brett Favre and Steve Young, and Terry Bradshaw and Ken Stabler.
Brady knows as well as anyone about the challenge Manning and the Broncos' offence presents.
"He's got great command of the offence," he said. "He can pretty much do whatever he wants. He obviously has a lot of confidence in what he's doing and he has confidence in the guys around him.
"Once he sees the coverage, he tries to get the plays that can beat the coverage. It really forces the defense to play very solid, to cover everything. Because if you don't then he does a great job finding the holes."
While the Broncos finished the regular season atop the AFC standings and will enjoy home field advantage on Sunday, the Patriots came out ahead in their only meeting this season, a 34-31 overtime win in late November. Still, Brady says that means little come game time.
"There's nothing that's happened in the past that's going to help us try to win this game on Sunday," he said.
"We'll be able to take some things from the game we played and study them and prepare for them. But we'll have different things to do, they'll have different things to do. Their team is different than from when they played us, and we're pretty different from when we played them."
Denver opens the week as 4 1/2 point favourites, but Brady puts little stock in what the experts think ahead of the game.
"Truthfully, I don't turn the TV on, I don't read anything," he said. I just try to focus on what I need to do.
"I'm sure no one's going to pick us to win this week. We've had our backs against the wall for a while. Really the whole season we've lost players and teams have really counted us out.
"We've got a bunch of underdogs on our team, and we'll be an underdog again. We'll see how that shapes up here at the end of the week. But I know that we're as tough and physical as we've ever been, and that's the way we're going to need to go out and play this game."