The man we have grown to know as the unofficial leader of Jets Nation has stepped down as "Fireman Ed".
Ed Anzalone is still a Jets fan, make no mistake about it, and he plans on going to every game, he just won't be leading "J-E-T-S" chants, taking photographs with fans and doing the things he's been doing for the past 26 years. To clear the record, Anzalone didn't quit the Jets because of their recent play or record, he quit because of disgruntled Jets fans.
I've never been more disappointed in Jets nation than I am right now, and no I'm not lumping everyone in that category. I'm talking about the people that spew their hate at Ed. I'm talking about the people that think it's cool to attack fellow fans.
I do get that people didn't like Ed. If you are one of them and did it without saying vile things, then I'm not lumping you in with the haters. You have your reasons, and I'm not trying to convince you that you had to support him.
Let me reiterate, I'm referring to the people that go out of their way to hate. Hate him in person, hate him on Twitter, hate Jets fans that supported him. You know who you are. I'm talking about the people who are sub-tweeting about people who don't share their views.
Ed talked about why he's stepping down in an open letter to fans.
"I decided to leave Thursday because the confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic, noted Anzalone.
"This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another."
I have seen some of the ugliest most vile tweets in the last day than I have in the six years I have been on twitter. This has nothing to do with me or the fact that I supported Ed. It's the fact that everyone has a right to feel the way they do, but if you don't agree with someone, you get called out and demonized. Why does it have to come to this?
Jets nation is a mess. Oh yes, and it started from the top to the coaches, to the players and now to the fans. We are a split nation, not a Jets nation.
I've seen just about every reaction and again I find it funny that people criticize others because they are expressing their feelings.
I've seen tweets that this is a non-issue, Ed stepping down. That we should only talk about the X's and O's. I disagree. If this is a non-issue, why is this consuming Jets nation? Oh you are going to say that bloggers like me caused this because I keep talking and writing about it. Ok then.
I've been slammed with people telling me Ed was a Dolphins fan. AND? This one I laugh at. Ok, and he found his way to Jets nation and has been with them for most of his life. I was a Steelers fan at 7. Should I be run out of town too?
This one I love. Ed gets free tickets. Unless he lied to my face, he pays for his own tickets and pays for his PSL just like I do.
Ed made money by being Fireman Ed. He had an app, he charged for appearances. So? Good for him. You're telling me he's not a fan because he made a profit of his celebrity?
Fans say he stole the Jets chant. Ed never claimed to start it. He knows where it was created, he just carried on the tradition.
The Jets Chant won't die. Oh it will exist, but not in the way we've seen it for the last four decades. I was told that the four video boards will do the trick. Great, that must be an answer from Generation Y. Call me old fashion, but a human leading the chant is way better than an electric board. Some say we were sheep following Ed when he told us to stand and chant, but now we'll be sheep following a lifeless robot board. Great.
Most Jets fans born BEFORE 1982 understand this as a big deal. I'm not lumping everyone together as their are exceptions to both sides. I know 19 year olds that are sad that Ed is gone, and I know 50 year old's that are glad he's gone. I'm just saying that a tradition ended yesterday, and the old timers know the stadium experience won't be the same. But then again, I never felt at home in the new one. Something doesn't feel just right.
Some fans say I feel this way because he was "my boy". I met him once and spoke with him in Canton Ohio this summer when Curtis Martin was inducted into the hall of fame. He's as authentic a Jets fan than I have ever met. He's intense and he loves his Jets.
Some fans say he did this for the attention. That he is being a baby. Ed felt that he was at the point where he was going to lose his cool and end up in jail with the haters confronting him. When he just left the Thanksgiving game without a word, people went nuts. How else is he supposed to step down. People would have gone nuts if he didn't show up to the last two games without this open letter. This was his only play. Haters are hating on how he left. Unreal.
Some fans say that he brought this on himself by changing his Jersey from No. 42 to No. 6. That showing support for a JETS PLAYER who was struggling caused this. This had nothing to do with Tebow by the way. Ed was saying that because the fan base is split between Sanchez and Tebow, the people who lost faith in Mark took offense he was wearing No. 6 and received hate. Tim Tebow didn't cause this. To say he did is ridiculous. On the flip side, to say Sanchez also caused this is also silly.
I'm sorry to go on in a rant as it's not typical of me, but this one bugs me. Our OWN fans drove Fireman Ed to quit something that he has done for four decades. It must take some great hate for a man to quit something he had great passion for, that is leading the stadium in chants.
If you didn't like the guy and participated in the hate, congratulations. You got what you wished for. Now go look in the mirror. I hope you like what you see. The sad thing is, you probably do.