The reason the stakes are so high, the moments so great and the final drives so incredible has as much to do with the people watching the game as it does those playing it. Without fans, football is just 11 guys chasing after an oval-shaped ball on a Sunday afternoon. But throw in the 12th man to the mix and the game takes on a whole new meaning.
Take for instance Frank and Fran Wojcik, who have been attending Jets games together since the '80s, October 27, 1980 to be exact. Why does the duo married for 31 years remember this date so precisely?
Forget dinner and a movie. "Our first date was a Jets-Miami game back at Shea Stadium," Fran said from her seats on the 35-yard line. "We bonded over the Jets and we've been coming to every game since."
As do many fans, Frank inherited his love for his team at a young age from his father.
"We used to go with my father-in-law even when it was so hard for him to walk. We'd take our time walking into the stadium for him to get in and sit."
Over the years the Wojcik home game clan expanded to include nieces and nephews, their daughter Kristin, and if four-legged fans were permitted in the stadium, most certainly Miss Braylon (named after none other than former Jets wide receiver, Braylon Edwards).
From Shea Stadium to the Meadowlands to Metlife, Fran looks back at her 30+ years as a season ticket holder with positive memories. None more so than the 2015 home finale.
"I'd have to say this last Patriots game was my best memory as a fan. I got to go on the field at and just the way the Jets won that game," she said.
By redeeming their Jets Rewards points, Fran and Frank had the opportunity to get even closer to the team they love by holding the Jets flag on the field during pregame.
"I came home with such a great feeling about everything. I cried when I was on the field because that was such a great experience and then again when they won," she said of the dramatic 26-20 overtime thriller over the Pats.
It seems only fitting that the final home game of the Jets' 2015 season was dedicated to the Green & White faithful. Rally towels, Jets trading cards, and more than 1,000 pounds of roast pork sandwiches marked some of the day's most memorable giveaways, while JetBlue surprised section 207a with roundtrip airfare to a warm-weather destination of their choosing.
Our Favorite Photos from Jets Nation Throughout the Season. Presented by Panasonic
Although the Jets' 2015 campaign may be over, Fran finds a lot to be optimistic about.
"A lot of people could be down on them, but I'm actually excited. I didn't think that they were going to win as many games as they did," she said. "I think they are on a roll and I haven't had this kind of feeling in a long time. It's going to keep going up from here."
We'll be ready to huddle up with Frank, Fran and you in 2016, Jets Nation. And in the famous words of Jets Flight Crew member, Emily M., "Jets fans are the most amazing fans in the league…"