When Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson spots the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady across the field on Thursday night, he'll be looking at more than just the opposing quarterback.
He'll be looking at the person he has been chasing since his early days in the NFL.
It's not Brady's records, MVP awards or GOAT status that Jackson covets. And despite the buzz around Jackson's contract situation -- he's in his fifth and final year of his rookie deal -- it's not Brady's contract that fuels Jackson's pursuit.
"I always remind people, if you've ever heard Lamar speak, it's always about Super Bowls," said Joshua Harris, Jackson's longtime former personal throwing coach. "That's his mindset. Tom Brady wins Super Bowls, so that's what he wants. He's the gold standard."
Ask Jackson about his favorite memory growing up, and he'll tell you about winning the Super Bowl of the South Florida Youth Football League at age 11. Nine years later, Jackson was selected in the first round by the Ravens and declared on the draft stage: "They're going to get a Super Bowl out of me. Believe that."
When Brady temporarily retired in February, he captioned a picture of him and Jackson shaking hands and he wrote Jackson was "next." Some thought it was Brady's way of passing the torch of being the game's top QB. Jackson had a different interpretation.
"I would say, hopefully, I'm next to win the Super Bowl," Jackson said Monday. "He's got seven of them, so hopefully, that's what I'm next to [do]."
Being consistent, rather than being a Super Bowl contender, is the current goal for both clubs as they meet at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday.
Brady is dealing with being below .500 seven games into the season for the first time since 2002. The Bucs (3-4) have lost four of five, including two in a row, with the low point being a 21-3 loss at Carolina on Sunday.
Jackson, meanwhile, started the season at a blistering pace but has had problems in fourth quarters. The Ravens (4-3) are just the third team in the past 10 years to have led by double-digits in each of their first seven games, yet they have lost three. Despite Jackson's occasional miscues, he's still No. 5 in QBR (63.1).