The Los Angeles Chargers will have to battle more than just the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
In order to advance to the AFC Championship Game, the Chargers also will have to deal with the house of horrors that is Gillette Stadium. Aside from the frigid conditions and high volume from Patriots fans, a sort of mystique surrounds New England’s home turf, making it all the more difficult for visiting players.
Former Charger Nick Hardwick recently admitted as much during his radio show. And according to the 11-year center, the uneasy feelings kick in even before you step on the field.
“It’s ominous there. … You go to New England, you drive through, it’s 45 minutes outside of Boston, Foxborough, and you drive through this neighborhood essentially on a lake and all of a sudden you pop out and there’s (Gillette) Stadium and it’s like the Death Star,” Hardwick said, as picked up by 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand and transcribed by MassLive. “It is this ominous place where everything feels very serious and very important and the pressure just kind of closes in on you as you pull in.”
Hardwick, who played for the Chargers from 2004 to 2014, went 1-2 at Gillette Stadium in his career, including a loss in the 2007 AFC Championship Game. The 2018 Chargers have experienced remarkable success on the road this season, but Sunday undoubtedly will be their toughest challenge yet.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports