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

Gunther from 'Friends' talks Central Perk

We spoke with Gunther (James Michael Tyler) at the preview for new pop-up Central Perk, based on the cafe in "Friends."

Local

Central Perk opens in SoHo

Central Perk, of "Friends" fame, is giving out free coffee in SoHo through Oct. 18.

National

Beer sponsor Anheuser-Busch reproaches NFL over domestic abuse

Anheuser-Busch chastised the NFL for its handling of domestic violence cases, making it the first major advertiser to put pressure on the league.

Local

Sen. Krueger dishes on prospect of legal marijuana…

New Yorkers may see the legalization of recreational marijuana use as early as 2015 if State Senator Liz Krueger (D) gets her way. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act will…

Music

FREEMAN makes Freeman a free man from Ween

For nearly 30 years, Aaron Freeman was known endearingly to his listeners as Gene Ween. But with "FREEMAN," he makes it clear that he's gone somewhere else.

Television

'Outlander' recap: Season 1, Episode 6: 'The Garrison…

Whipping, punching, kicking and a marriage contract. "Outlander" is not for the faint of heart this week with "The Garrison Commander."

The Word

The Word: Hey girl, it's a girl for…

It's a girl for Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, who reportedly welcomed a daughter last Friday, according to Us Weekly. The super-private couple managed to…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sept. 16: 'New Girl,'…

Check out the season premiere of "New Girl," as Jess competes with Jessica Biel for a guy's attentions.

MLB

5 top contenders for NL Rookie of the…

The outing rekindled award talk for deGrom, who appears to hold the top spot for NL Rookie of the Year honors. Metro breaks down a few other contenders.

College

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

College football Top 25 poll (AP rankings)

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

Style

Rachel Zoe: New York Fashion Week Spring 15

Rachel Zoe goes 'Glam bohemia' for Spring.

Food

Where to find SweeTango apples

Introduced in 2009, SweeTango — a hybrid of Honeycrisp and Zestar — is a sweet apple with plenty of crunch.

Style

London Fashion Week recap

London Fashion week gets in on the action with politics, heritage and summertime living.

Food

Padma Lakshmi's recipe for green mango curry

Padma Lakshmi shares her recipe for green mango curry in UNICEF's new book, "UNICHEF."