New York Jets fan or not, you have to know who Fireman Ed is.
Since 1986, he’s been leading the famous “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant while wearing a No. 42 Bruce Harper jersey and a green and white fire helmet. He’s a Jets icon and a member of the fan section of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
But on Thanksgiving Day, Fireman Ed was spotted leaving the Jets’ debacle against the New England Patriots at halftime—the second game in a row during which he has left early. The ensuing abuse that has rained down on him is exactly why he left the games and has now decided to hang up his helmet for good.
Ed Anzalone, as a guest columnist on Metro.us, announced this week that he is retiring from the role of Fireman Ed. But it’s not a result of the dismal season the Jets are having, the recent annihilation at the hands of the Patriots, or even beleaguered quarterback Mark Sanchez’s Thanksgiving faceplant into his lineman’s rear end and the ensuing fumble that New England returned for a touchdown.
No, Fireman Ed is gone because of New York Jets fans.
“I decided to leave Thursday because the confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic,” wrote Anzalone. “This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another.”
“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 in a separate article. “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.”
Real nice, Jets fans—or at least the handful of you who ruined it for everybody. Your team is a dumpster fire and you managed to pour gasoline on it by driving away the one good thing left in green and white.
Because Fireman Ed tried to support the starting quarterback by changing his jersey to a No. 6 Mark Sanchez this season, demented Tim Tebow fanatics have apparently teed off on him on a regular basis.
“The stadium has become divided because of the quarterback controversy as well,” Anzalone penned. “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.”
That’s precisely how Tim Tebow would want his fans to behave, right? What would Jesus do? Well, he’d constantly confront people who don’t agree with him, trying to goad them into fights, not letting them pee in peace or feel safe walking out to the car. That’s what the Bible preaches, right?
“Although I can ‘hold my own,’” Anzalone wrote (and we believe him!), “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.”
Anzalone supports Sanchez—who has started every game this year—and for his troubles, his life is made miserable by morons doing the exact opposite of what the deeply religious Tebow would want.
Reaching his breaking point, Anzalone does the right thing and walks away. For his troubles, he’s publicly mocked by former Jets defensive lineman Kris Jenkins and countless others.
These morons are the same people who Anzalone risked his life to protect for two decades as a New York City firefighter. These are the same people who Fireman Ed faithfully energized and entertained on Game Day for 26 years.
These are the same people who have witnessed Fireman Ed attending children’s birthday parties in the parking lot and posing for pictures with youth cancer patients—rather than tailgating with his buddies—before games.
That’s the guy that you just drove away, you obnoxious Jets fans.
You think Tebow would be proud of that?