The New York Jets are playing the team's most anticipated game in years, taking on the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game with the Super Bowl well within reach.
Kickoff came shortly after 3 p.m. ET.
Fans gave the team a New York-style send-off this weekend. Brimming with the brash confidence, rookie head coach Rex Ryan said his team is focused on the task at hand.
"We came out here … we had one goal," Ryan said. "Our goal is to win the Super Bowl."
Jets fullback Tony Richardson said the season, like life, has had its ups and downs, but thanked fans for their loyalty throughout the rollercoaster and pledged that the team would represent all of them in their journey to Indianapolis.
"As we get onto this plane, we're taking each one of you guys with us because you guys have supported us throughout the season," Richardson said.
Colts defensive lineman Raheem Brock said football fans can expect a good game on Sunday. "We've got something to prove. They've got a good running game, a good offensive line, but now we've got to go out and prove ourselves again."
In December, the Colts didn't have to prove anything.
They were rolling along on an NFL record 23-game regular-season winning streak and had just set a club record with their 13th consecutive home victory. They had swept the AFC South, beaten seven straight teams fighting to make the playoffs, locked up the AFC's top seed and had everyone talking about completing a 19-0 season.
Then Caldwell did the unthinkable. With less than six minutes to go in the third quarter, the Colts leading 15-10 and six quarters from being 16-0, he yanked Peyton Manning and the other starters to avoid risking injury.
Fans responded immediately with a cascade of boos in Lucas Oil Stadium. Those were replaced over the next several days by even louder complaints from fans after the Jets rallied for a 29-15 victory.
Nobody has forgotten what happened – least of all the Colts.
"In history, they'll be remembered as the team that gave us our first loss of 2009," Colts left tackle Charlie Johnson said. "Going out and playing everybody a full four quarters, it'll be a good test for us to see who is really better."
New York took advantage of the Colts' help and hasn't lost since.
The Jets knocked off AFC North champion Cincinnati the following week, clinching a playoff spot. Then they won the wild-card rematch at Cincinnati. Last week, New York upset the Chargers 17-14 in San Diego, setting up Sunday's high-stakes rematch in Indy, where it's not just the Colts who feel they have something to prove.
"If we end up beating them, maybe they need to look at that (pulling the starters)," cornerback Darrelle Revis said. "We know that Peyton will be playing in this game the whole time. We have to see him and he has to see us as well for the whole game."
Clearly, the odds are in Indy's favor.
Yes, New York has the NFL's top-ranked rushing offense and top-ranked overall defense, usually a winning post-season formula. But it is just 1-3 all-time in conference title games, hasn't been to a Super Bowl in more than four decades and the home team was won the last three AFC title games.
The Colts are 5-2 in their last seven home playoff games and still have most of their key cogs from the title run they made four years ago.
"This is a team that has been here, been to the Super Bowl, and has a lot of experience," Revis said. "We are new to this, we have a young team. One thing about us is that we work hard and we are very competitive, and I think that will give us the edge."