Tom Brady has played for so long that his adolescent's childhood was ruined by his early career success.
Such is the case with opposing quarterback, rookie Daniel Jones, who was a six-year-old Panthers fan as Brady won his second Super Bowl in a win over Carolina.
"I remember where I saw him, went to a friend's house, the Dickens house, a friend of the family," Jones, now 22, told ESPN Jordan Raanan. "Obviously it was heartbreaking when [kicker Adam] Vinatieri scored this field goal."
As is his approach, Jones did not shake the boat when he talked about the Patriots or Thursday night quarrel, noting that he was too young to accommodate a grudge against Brady or New England for losing.
"Not really," said Jones. "Do not think that I knew so much at this age … knew I liked the Panthers."
Brady is no stranger at this stage of his career when it comes to meeting Jones going historic. Brady has 212 victories, 71,923 passes (18 passes ahead of Peyton Manning for 2nd place ever) and 527 touchdowns in his 20-year career. Jones has 2 wins, 760 yards and 4 touchdowns in his rookie season. The gaps of 210 wins, 71,163 yards, and 523 TDs between Brady and Jones are the biggest in declining initial QBs in NFL history.
The 19-year gap of 297 days between Jones and Brady is the second largest difference between opposing start QBs since 1970 (the largest being jets Sam Darnold and Brady – 19 years, 306 days – at week 17, 2018).
Jones (22 years, 136 days on match day) would be the latest QB to defeat the Patriots in the Brady-Belichick era (since 2001) with a win.
When Brady won his first Super Bowl ring in February 2002, Jones was four years old. The Patriots have since won five more, but also lost two to Eli Manning and the Giants.
"Yes, I think just a few of their tendencies and how they have evolved over the years," Jones said as he examined Manning's brain for the Pats. "I think they've changed a bit since then – but [Manning] has the experience of seeing that change, but yes … who they are, the foundation of their defense, is helpful in the preparation."
] Jones will need any help he can muster on Thursday night without several of his offensive weapons, including Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, and Sterling Shepard.
The story is also against Jones: Brady has won all 11 of his homes starts in his career against rookie QBs.