Monday, November 26, 2012

FireFighter: The Story of Edwin Anzalone

     "J-E-T-S!!! JETS JETS JETS!!!"
     Every New York Jets fan is familiar with that pregame chant. Every Jets fan also knows the man that made this chant famous. Edwin Anzalone of East Rutherford, a.k.a. "Fireman Ed", has been an enthusiastic superfan of the New York Jets since 1975. Unfortunately for Anzalone, he hung up his helmet during a Thanksgiving blowout at the hands of the New England Patriots, stating that he'll no longer lead the J-E-T-S cheer at Jets games.
     The Jets' unofficial mascot wasn't always an uberfan of the Jets. Born on September 19, 1959 in College Point, New York, Anzalone rooted for the Miami Dolphins until the age of 10. Anzalone is an actual firefighter for New York City, but was injured on the job in 2007. He always wore Bruce Harper's jersey to Jets games up until this season. This year, he showed up wearing Mark Sanchez's jersey to show support for the Jets' starting quarterback. Fireman Ed rose to prominence in the New York area by appearing on many local radio shows, showing his diehard support for Gang Green. Jets fans also remember Anzalone shoving a Giants fan who interrupted the pregame chant during a preseason Monday Night game on August 16, 2010. Ironically, the Giants fan was removed from the game. But that's what happens when you mess with an New York firefighter.
     As for the "J-E-T-S" chant, Fireman Ed's led the pregame chant since 1986. However, he wasn't the originator of the chant. The chant was originally led by two retired NYPD Jet fans. The chant alternates from one end zone to the opposite end zone and the chant only happens in the upper deck of Metlife Stadium.
     The reason why Fireman Ed called it quits on Thanksgiving (What a quiet Thanksgiving it must've been at the Anzalone household, I say) was due to the "boorish behavior" of Jets fans regarding Mark Sanchez and his performance this season.
     1"Listen, I've been through the Rich Kotite era--we were 4-28 in that era." Anzalone said. "Any Jets fan knows this isn't the worst of times; it isn't even close. It's been about the nastiness. I just think society in general-you're out in your car and there's no respect at all. I don't want to put up with that from people taking it out on me anymore."
    Fireman Ed has stated that fans have gotten confrontational with him, thinking that Anzalone wasn't a season-long ticket holder, but rather a member of the New York Jets organization. Anzalone has countered by saying that he's "never received a dime from this team."
     2"I decided to leave Thursday because the confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic.This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another. The stadium has become divided because of the quarterback controversy as well. The fact that I chose to wear a Mark Sanchez jersey this year and that fans think I am on the payroll--which is an outright lie--have made these confrontations more frequent. Whether it's in the stands, the bathroom or the parking lot, these confrontations are happening on a consistent basis. Although I can 'hold my own', I do not want to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake. I have a responsibility to the families and kids that enjoy the game and Fireman Ed."
     Fireman Ed did conclude that "he'll always love the Jets because they're in my heart", and that "he'll attend games as usual, just not as Fireman Ed. God bless and, as always, let's go Jets!"
     Spoken like a true fan.

  1. (Dyer, Kristina New York Metro)
  2. (Anzalone, Edwin New York Metro) 
Other References:
  • New York Times; 2012, November 26 web. 2012, November 26

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