Brady's place in the league's history, with nine Super Bowl trips and six wins in the title game, is more than secure. But his history against the Broncos is filled with more than a little quirkiness, some disappointments and one very significant blip he could clean up Sunday if these injury-ravaged Broncos can't make a fight of it.
Through his career 328 games (regular season and playoffs), 14 Pro Bowl appearances, three league MVP awards and four Super Bowl MVP awards, the Broncos are the only team Brady's teams have a losing record against overall.
In games Brady has started against the Broncos, the Patriots were 7-6 in the regular season, 1-3 in the playoffs -- 8-9 overall. And if that seems like a lot of games for Brady to have faced a non-divisional opponent two time zones away, that would be correct.
Peyton Manning once joked at the regular appearances of the Patriots on the Broncos' schedule during Manning's four-year run in Denver: "I didn't know we were in the same division."
In fact, it is the most games Brady has played against any team outside the Eastern time zone and the second-most overall against any non-AFC East opponent (Colts, 19 times).
"You're right, I've played there a lot, playing in the AFC all those years, travelling to Denver, playoff games in Denver, it's an electric atmosphere, I don't think we're going to get quite that this coming Sunday, but it's one of the great places in the NFL to play," Brady said. "The stadium is amazing, the setting is amazing."
Many of the games are sprinkled with memorable moments. Brady had four interceptions in his first start against the Broncos (Oct. 28, 2001) and took five sacks in his second (Oct. 27, 2002).
But the scale tipped the other way plenty. Brady has eight 300-yard passing games against the Broncos, none more dominant than the six-touchdown demolition he led during the 2011 divisional round of the playoffs.
The most memorable meeting came in 2015, their second meeting in the AFC Championship Game, with a historical Broncos defense against Brady when "you just weren't going to show him anything he hadn't seen before or didn't know how to beat," said former Denver defensive coorinator Wade Phillips. The Broncos sacked Brady four times, hit him a bone-rattling 20 times overall and Brady still threw for 310 yards and came within one failed two-point conversion of leading a furious comeback.
"Gronk [Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski] and I were talking about the 2015 game we played against them and how crazy that game was," Brady said.
There will be just 5,700 folks in the stands Sunday -- the first limited crowd the Broncos have attempted this season due to restrictions with COVID-19 -- and if it is Brady's last game in Denver, they will be the ones who say "I was there." It will be the 18th one, and perhaps the last, on the list.
A different uniform, a different feel, but for the most part the same guy they've seen so many times before.
"Tom is one of the smartest quarterbacks that's ever played -- him, Peyton, and a few others," Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. " It doesn't take him long to learn something, I can tell you that. I think he's doing fine. They're happy to have him and ... he looks pretty damn good to me still."