Fireman Ed, the New York Jets’ superfan who whipped the crowd into a frenzy by leading the “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets” chant, will no longer attend games in character.
Ed Anzalone, in a guest column for the Metro New York newspaper, said he would still attend games at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, but not as Fireman Ed. Anzalone, who left the Jets’ 49-19 loss to the New England Patriots at halftime on Nov. 22, said he’s retiring the persona because “confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common.”
He said Jets fans have become divided over whether Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow, whom the Jets acquired during the offseason, should start at quarterback. Anzalone, who for years wore the No. 42 of retired running back and kick returner Bruce Harper, switched to Sanchez’s No. 6 in support of the embattled quarterback. The Jets are 4-7 this season.
“The stadium has become divided because of the quarterback controversy,” he wrote. “The fact that I chose to wear a Mark Sanchez jersey this year and that fans think I am on the payroll
Jets coach Rex Ryan said this morning he loves Anzalone’s passion and that he’s a great fan.
“If we do our job on the field, that Jets chant will continue,” Ryan told reporters. “I appreciate Fireman Ed. I like Fireman Ed. If he could play linebacker I’d use him.”
After a 2009 upset of the Patriots, Ryan gave a game ball to Anzalone, who wrote that he’s enjoyed his time leading “the greatest chant in all of sports.”
“I have enjoyed meeting all the wonderful Jets fans around the world and look forward to the day we all can raise the Lombardi Trophy as one and celebrate a world championship down the Canyon of Heroes!” he said, referring to the NFL’s Super Bowl trophy and the route of victory parades for New York’s sports champions.