Jets Fan “Fireman Ed” Quits

By Sarah Garlick

Edwin Anzalone, better know as “Fireman Ed” has retired from his role as the New York Jets superfan. Anzalone, 53, has been a season ticket holder since 1976 and had been leading the famous J-E-T-S chant from Section 134 of the Meadowlands stadium since 1986, often hoisted up on his brother’s, or other fans’, shoulders. In 1999, Anzalone was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Hall of Fans.

Fireman Ed donned a green and white fireman’s helmet and a Bruce Harper jersey to every game – that is, until the 2012 season when he switched out Harper’s jersey for Mark Sanchez’s no. 6 in support of the oft-criticized Jets quarterback. This created controversy among Jets fans, who can often be heard chanting for backup quarterback Tim Tebow to come and rescue the team from miserable performances.

According to Anzalone’s guest column in the Metro newspaper, the confrontations from other Jets fans became too much to deal with, citing the quarterback controversy (and his decision to wear Sanchez’s jersey) as the reason for the fighting amongst fellow fans. Anzalone says the confrontations were becoming more consistent and common in the stands, the bathrooms, and the parking lot, and that he is stepping away from his role because he does not want to lose his temper and make a mistake.

He is quick to point out in his guest column that he is not, however, quitting on the team, who are 4-7 following a humiliating 49-19 loss to the New England Patriots last Thursday, saying that he has seen much worse seasons than this one, and that he will always love the Jets. He also noted that he will still attend games, just not as the recognizable figure that avid NFL fans have come to expect to see on their televisions any time they tune into a Jets game.

While Jets fans certainly have the right to be frustrated with the team’s poor record and embarrassing performances, they should not be taking it out on fellow fans. Fans should be even more united in the face of adversity and fans should be able to commiserate with one another, not begin fights with one another. It is a shame that certain Jets fans have been so terrible to Ed Anzalone that he felt forced to resign from his famous role to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Of course, this retirement is likely to still bring Anzalone attention. Cameramen will still seek him out in the crowd and announcers will talk about him for at least a game or two. ESPN will probably use the topic to fuel even more debate about Tebow, because what does ESPN love talking about more than Tim Tebow? And perhaps a different sort of Jets fan will still confront him and criticize him for not being able to stand his ground and continue his thunderous support of Sanchez and the rest of the team.

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