Courtney Davis has no idea what her house looks like because her town of Sea Bright, N.J., was washed away by Superstorm Sandy.
Yet she was at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the New York Giants 24-20.
"We need this," Davis said. "We could really use this game and having a good time."
Davis and many other fans tailgating outside MetLife Stadium said they were thankful NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not postpone the game or order it moved to Pittsburgh. And Goodell stopped by to do some tailgating himself, then meet on the field and congratulate first responders, calling them "heroes."
The game was never in real danger of being called off, unlike Sunday's New York City Marathon that was canceled on Friday after growing public pressure.
Given the gas shortage in the state -- New Jersey has implemented a rationing program -- and a depleted mass transit available, the Giants urged fans to carpool to the stadium. In their conversation before the weekend, Goodell was assured by Gov. Chris Christie that the game wouldn't divert any major resources from relief efforts.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin emphasized how important the game was -- and how upsetting the defeat was.
"That's as disappointing a loss as we've had in a long time," he said. "Not to be overly reactionary or emotional, to play against a very good football team like that ... we wanted emotionally to win the game so badly for obvious reasons, for our neighbors who are struggling, who needed some type of inspiration, and we didn't provide it."
Redskins 'homecoming' fires up Panthers: So much for Cam Newton vs. Robert Griffin III. For the ticked-off players in the visitor's locker room, it was more like the Carolina Panthers vs. Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff and Bobby Mitchell.
Newton and the Panthers broke a five-game losing streak, topping Griffin and the penalty-prone Redskins 21-13. But what really fired up Newton and his teammates was that they had been deemed the "homecoming" opponent by the Redskins, who wore 1937 throwback uniforms and welcomed back dozens of former stars.
Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, whose 30-yard touchdown score was his longest run of the season, was so miffed that he raised the issue in a pregame speech, still had the "Game Day" program sitting in his locker after the game and said he might frame it.
"I look on there and it says 'homecoming.' And I'm thinking to myself: This is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming," Williams said. "And it's not like you tried to hide it -- you blatantly put it on the front of the 'Game Day.'"
Saints: Within the past year, the multiyear contract extension the Saints announced for Sean Payton in September 2011 was voided by the NFL, making the suspended head coach a free agent after this season and casting questions on how long he will remain in New Orleans, according to league sources.
Payton is expected to become the NFL's most sought-after head coach after this season, and there already is speculation in league circles that he could wind up returning to Dallas, where he worked as the assistant head coach from 2003 to 2005. Payton confirmed the news, according to FoxSports.
Ref's curse broadcast: An NFL referee lost his temper and used an obscenity during the Dolphins-Colts game, and it was obvious to everyone inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and those watching on television. Referee Tony Corrente uttered a curse word while explaining that he'd correctly spotted the ball. CBS broadcaster Kevin Harlan immediately apologized.
ESPN.com contributed to this report.