Fireman Ed will no longer play team’s mascot

Fireman Ed leading the Jets fans in his signature chant.

For 26 years now, Ed Anzalone has gotten transformed eight Sundays out of the year into “Fireman Ed,” the most iconic football fan in the nation. Anzalone, sitting atop his brother’s shoulders, his image displayed on the stadium’s big screens, leads the green-clad crowd in the “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!”

The franchise will turn to a new era on Dec. 2 when the Jets host the Cardinals, as he will be “Fireman Ed” no more.

The retirement of Anzalone in his special role in the game day experience at MetLife Stadium is the end of an era for Jets fans used to his presence in section 124. On Thursday night, with the Jets down 35-3 at halftime of what turned into a 49-19 home loss to the Patriots, Anzalone left the stadium. It had nothing to do with the team’s 4-7 record this year or the fact that they likely won’t make the playoffs for a second straight year.

“Listen, I went through the Rich Kotite era — we were 4-28 in that era. Any Jets fan knows this isn’t the worst of times; it isn’t close,” Anzalone told Metro. “It’s been about the nastiness. I just think society in general — you’re out in your car there’s no respect at all. I don’t want to put up with that from people taking it out on me anymore.”

Anzalone said fans have gotten nasty and confrontational with him, often mistaking him as part of the organization when he is merely a season ticket holder “who has never received a dime from this team.”

He said he will still go to games and that he never, ever can quit on the Jets. It isn’t the mounting losses or the lack of wins that is bothering him, but rather the boorish behavior of fans.

“That is right. For me to write a letter, I think it is best that I move on. I’m sure there will be somebody else that takes over. I wasn’t the originator of the chant and I won’t be the last one. It’s got to end,” Anzalone said.

“I wouldn’t go to my same seat. I’ll be in different seats. I have a ton of guys that have 10 or 12 seats that sell and I’ll grab a couple of theirs. I can’t be in the section that I’ll be in. I can’t be in the same section and not be ‘Fireman Ed.’ But I am thankful to have been the maestro of that chant all those years. The fans humbled me by getting behind me and joining me.”

Anzalone, a New York City firefighter, would spend his pregame time not with his buddies drinking beers and grilling burgers but rather visiting children’s birthday parties in the parking lot or posing for pictures with children battling cancer. He was everywhere before the game but minutes before kickoff he’d walk down the stairs to his seat, often to a standing ovation from Jets fans in his section.

A season ticket holder since 1976, he was first put on the big screen at the old Giants Stadium 10 years later to fire up the crowd.

Anzalone hasn’t informed the Jets of his decision to hang up his fireman helmet.

“No, I haven’t notified them of anything. I’m not on their pay roll,” Anzalone said. “I don’t owe the Jets anything.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Movies

Review: Sadly, Matthew Weiner's 'Are You Here' is…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner tries his hand at movies with "Are You Here," a misjudged Owen Wilson-Zach Galifianakis comedy that turns into a drama.

Movies

Review: 'Love is Strange' is not only a…

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina tie the knot in "Love is Strange," but the film winds up being more about living with people than an activist picture.

Movies

Frank Miller on writing 'Sin City'

Frank Miller's comics career is a long and storied one, with "Sin City" being one of his most individual creations. Here, in his own words,…

Movies

Interview: Jessica Alba is a stripper again in…

Jessica Alba has gotten used to vague phone calls from director Robert Rodriguez, the Austin-based auteur who has made a habit of putting Alba into…

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…

Wellbeing

What eye symptoms need emergency attention?

Many people experience temporary eye-related problems such as pink eye (conjunctivitis) from a cold virus or a scratched cornea resulting from an object coming into…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to longterm happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. A new…

Parenting

Fun family activity: Off-Broadway show for pre-teens

"The Love Note" is an off-Broadway musical your pre-teen won't roll his or her eyes at.