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

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Local

Islamic state issues video of beheading of U.S.…

The Islamic State militant group released a video purporting to show the beheading of U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff, the SITE monitoring service reported on Tuesday.

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Sports

Belinda Bencic leads crop of young stars serving…

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old Swiss Miss, beat two Top-10 players before suffering a disappointing loss Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and Giants climb

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…