FanDuel - WFBC

November 26, 2012

Jets Fan Fireman Ed Hanging Up His Helmet: "Fireman" Ed Anzalone, the well-known New York Jets fan who leads the J-E-T-S chant from the stands, is giving up the unofficial job because of abusive fans. "Confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common, even though most Jets fans are fantastic," he writes for Metro. "This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another. ... Although I can 'hold my own,' 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." The former New York City firefighter has been rooting for the team since 1975.

posted by rcade to football at 03:11 PM - 54 comments

When it takes just a few fans to get rid of the one few bright spots that makes going to a Jets game worthwhile this season, you know things have gone completely off the rails.

posted by NerfballPro at 03:36 PM on November 26

This totally sucks. He was like the guy who used to lead the cheer by posing C-O-L-T-S at the old Baltimore games in the '70s ... a fan who made it more enjoyable to attend a sporting event.

I presume there will be thousands of fans who will want him to reconsider, but he has the right idea: it's not worth ruining the great reputation he has developed over the year by getting into personal trouble in the heat of the moment.

posted by jjzucal at 03:54 PM on November 26

The comments at that link are brutal. No wonder Ed is quitting.

posted by rcade at 05:23 PM on November 26

This Patriots' fan used to get thoroughly sick of Fireman Ed's face all over the screen whenever the Jets and Pats were playing. Were he quitting his role directly because of the state of the team, I would say good riddance. Since he is quitting because some Jets' fans insist on being the sort of thing that Sanchez ran his face into, I admire what he is doing. Perhaps there will be better times and better fans, and he will be back in his regalia. Then I can get thoroughly sick of him again, but secretly welcome him back.

posted by Howard_T at 10:00 PM on November 26

Simple solution - Ed stays, polarizing figures Tebow and Ryan go. Ed means more to Jets football than either of the aforementioned.

posted by cixelsyd at 11:20 PM on November 26

This Patriots' fan used to get thoroughly sick of Fireman Ed's face all over the screen whenever the Jets and Pats were playing

I'm with you except for "used to". Maybe it's my Pats' homerism, but I'm against all self-aggrandizing fans. There's a 15 minute window where they are cute, but once the inevitable web site and overpriced t-shirt appear, they're dead to me. No one appointed you Captain Fan Base.

Then again, the Red Sox actually did have appointed state captains and that was worse.

posted by yerfatma at 08:27 AM on November 27

You mean a guy who screams all game, blocks the view of other fans and is generally acting out a "LOOK AT ME!!!" fantasy every week isn't coming back?

See ya later, dipshit.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:31 AM on November 27

Maybe it's my Pats' homerism...

It's not. Nearly every Jets fan I know is sick of the schtick.

posted by goddam at 09:50 AM on November 27

Yeah, put me down for a "gets old fast" too. My reaction to the whole Fireman Ed thing was, I get being a devoted fan, but come on, you're a grown man. Being a devoted fan doesn't mean losing all dignity and sense of proportion.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:29 AM on November 27

I get being a devoted fan

And of two different teams. According to some of the stories, he used to play a similar role for the Baltimore Colts.

posted by yerfatma at 11:01 AM on November 27

I get being a devoted fan, but come on, you're a grown man. Being a devoted fan doesn't mean losing all dignity and sense of proportion.

This.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:20 AM on November 27

he used to play a similar role for the Baltimore Colts

The Irsay family couldn't have found space in one of the moving vans for him when the Colts were sneaking off to Indy? They made sure there was room for Kush...

posted by beaverboard at 11:25 AM on November 27

I'm sure it gets more media coverage being New York and all, but between this guy and the Yankees bleachers guy, I think we have the only two instances of fans receiving significant media coverage (and SpoFi FPPs) over their decisions to "retire." It all seems a bit much to me.

posted by holden at 11:38 AM on November 27

According to some of the stories, he used to play a similar role for the Baltimore Colts.

The comments say he was a Miami Dolphins fan until he was 10.

Fireman Ed didn't make himself famous. The media did. Since when are recognizable super-fans a terrible thing? Guys like Ed add a little personality to the No Fun League.

posted by rcade at 12:51 PM on November 27

Fireman Ed didn't make himself famous. The media did.

Right, because a full-sized adult male in a fireman's hat riding on another guy's shoulders whooping his arms like he's breaking a bronco screams "Wallflower".

posted by yerfatma at 12:58 PM on November 27

There are dozens of wanna-be Eds in every NFL stadium, dressed up to get attention. The media adopted Ed and made him the Jets super-fan.

I guess you'd prefer that NFL fans stayed down in front? Stay home with your HDTV and nobody will block your view. When I go to games I want to be around rowdy fans.

posted by rcade at 01:11 PM on November 27

I'm okay with rowdy, but (and I don't know whether this is the case with Fireman Ed) there are definitely people out there who are way more into being their character than cheering for their team. I can't define where the line between the two is, but it definitely exists.

posted by Etrigan at 01:57 PM on November 27

I guess you'd prefer that NFL fans stayed down in front? Stay home with your HDTV and nobody will block your view.

Nope, I don't mind the in stadium experience (if anything I'd like more of it), I just get annoyed when fans start thinking themselves part of the show. This guy needed to release a statement saying he's retiring the character? Just stop showing up.

posted by yerfatma at 02:00 PM on November 27

Only in hindsight do we realize what a public service Monty Hall once performed by keeping these people happily sequestered and entertained in a TV studio on a daily basis.

Wonder if they've thought of doing NFL-themed episodes of Let's Make A Deal.

Such as...Raiders Black Hole Edition. Is Rilla gonna get the Buick or the donkey?

posted by beaverboard at 02:50 PM on November 27

... I just get annoyed when fans start thinking themselves part of the show.

They are. Especially in college football and soccer.

posted by rcade at 02:57 PM on November 27

... I just get annoyed when fans start thinking themselves part of the show.

They are. Especially in college football and soccer.

I would argue that there is a difference between fans and a fan being part of the show.

posted by Etrigan at 03:25 PM on November 27

They are. Especially in college football and soccer.

That's a pretty big blanket. Are you including soccer's Ultras as part of the show? Fans are a huge part of the show at WWE TV events as well, but it seems like half the people in the front rows are just there to be seen on TV with their non sequitur signs. Are they fans or are they part of the great unwashed wanting to be famous? If they just want to be famous, MTV is happy to accept the dregs at the bottom of the melting pot. </sneer> /twirls moustache

posted by yerfatma at 03:55 PM on November 27

I would argue that there is a difference between fans and a fan being part of the show.

He led a popular chant after being hoisted on somebody's shoulders, carrying on a tradition that was begun by other fans in earlier seasons. How in the world is that in any ways inappropriate? Is it really preferable that the only people attracting attention to themselves are team employees firing T-shirts and manufacturing excitement in other league-approved ways?

posted by rcade at 04:28 PM on November 27

They are. Especially in college football and soccer.

So who gets to decide what parts of the fan experience are "part of the show", what are ancillary, and what are annoyances that we'd rather not deal with but put up with in order to see the "show" (presumably an athletic event) that we came to see? Is "Sweet Caroline" part of the "show" at Fenway Park? How about the overpriced beer at the average NLF stadium or the parking-lot traffic jams leaving a Div I football game?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:31 PM on November 27

For those who are aggravated by Fireman Ed, the fact he has a Wikipedia entry probably won't help.

posted by rcade at 04:34 PM on November 27

For some reason, Wikipedia articles just don't trigger my "person who really ought to know better, showing their ass in public and making me cringe in sympathetic embarrassment" reaction. Maybe it's the difference between "Yeah, I went there" and "For chrissakes I'm just trying to watch the game".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:51 PM on November 27

I would argue that there is a difference between fans and a fan being part of the show.

He led a popular chant after being hoisted on somebody's shoulders, carrying on a tradition that was begun by other fans in earlier seasons. How in the world is that in any ways inappropriate? Is it really preferable that the only people attracting attention to themselves are team employees firing T-shirts and manufacturing excitement in other league-approved ways?

When people complain about a person acting in a self-aggrandizing manner, and you respond that you like rowdy fans, note that I draw a distinction between the singular and the plural. Note further that I've already said in this thread that I'm not talking about Fireman Ed specifically.

To be precise, I also dislike a lot of the self-aggrandizing "superfans" (and again, I don't have an opinion on Fireman Ed -- I've never knowingly been to a Jets game), but I also love being in a big crowd of lunatics who clearly love their team and want to show it. There's a difference.

posted by Etrigan at 08:07 PM on November 27

(and again, I don't have an opinion on Fireman Ed -- I've never knowingly been to a Jets game)

I want to hear the story behind that "knowingly".

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:00 PM on November 27

I suppose "knowingly" is the wrong word there. "That I know of" would be better. I was stationed close enough to NYC back in my occasional-blackout-drunk days that I cannot be certain I've never been.

posted by Etrigan at 09:07 PM on November 27

I was stationed close enough to NYC back in my occasional-blackout-drunk days that I cannot be certain I've never been.

Blackout drunk days? Hell, you could have had unlawful carnal knowledge with Fireman Ed himself!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:41 PM on November 27

I still wouldn't have an opinion on him.

posted by Etrigan at 09:57 PM on November 27

Major professional sports teams (at least those in the USA) have somehow come up with the idea that "game presentation" is to be considered as important as the game itself. It is less prevalent (or at least less annoying) in football and hockey, but has become very annoying in MLB and especially the NBA. I have season tickets to the Celtics, and we try not to show up too far in advance of tap-off in order to avoid the noise. During time outs there are the usual T-shirt throws, lucky parachute drops, dancers, acrobats, and youth basketball games at half time. The youth games are at least entertaining. Watching a 9-year-old attempt an NBA range 3 ranges from funny to hilarious, and when the 2 guys next to you actually have a bet on the outcome, it gets weird. As far as fans becoming obnoxious, the idea seems to be "act stupid, wear an outlandish costume, and see yourself on the jumbo tron". There are a few fans who are at every game, wearing the same garb, who regularly make the screen, but they are not really all that annoying. They have a "fan of the game" contest for the crowd to select one of those who appear on the jumbo tron. Even that is not too annoying, and at one game, the fan was a young girl of 4 or 5 who slept nearly through the entire game despite the attention from those around her every time her picture showed up on the screen.

The point is that when you are in a crowd of 15,00 or more, it is easy to ignore the show-offs, unless they are sitting in your immediate vicinity. Even then, if they are really obnoxious, there's a security line to call to get some help. As far as the game presentation goes, just grin and bear it. When you've been to enough games, you'll know when the breaks will be long enough to hit the concession stands or the rest rooms.

In Fireman Ed's case, I guess his act finally wore thin for the Jets' fans who became sick of the team's recent ineptitude. Thus the apparent harassment and his decision to quit. He had been doing this since 1975, so I consider that he's close to qualifying as an "institution", so his quitting is somewhat sad.

posted by Howard_T at 10:41 PM on November 27

When people complain about a person acting in a self-aggrandizing manner, and you respond that you like rowdy fans, note that I draw a distinction between the singular and the plural.

The singular rowdy fan fired up a plural crowd of rowdy fans. Fireman Ed wouldn't have led that chant for so long without being popular with the fans. He is an institution in Jets fandom. It's not the end of the world, but it's a little sad to see him quit because of abusive people.

When I was a kid, I loved Crazy Ray at Cowboys games -- who you and others would regard as "self-aggrandizing." He was a part of the experience for 46 years. I took my oldest son to a game and Ray was still there, entertaining kids before games and posing for pictures. I enjoyed his mock fights with Washington's Chief Zee.

At Rangers games, Zonk beat his drum behind the first base dugout for 25 years. I was in Denver when the Rangers game to town to play their first interleague game. I was seated a deck above first base, and when I looked down there was Zonk. He'd bought a ticket in around the same spot. It was a shame when he couldn't keep going because he moved further away from the ballpark.

posted by rcade at 08:31 AM on November 28

When I was a kid, I loved Crazy Ray at Cowboys games -- who you and others would regard as "self-aggrandizing."

Since you apparently already know how I think about someone I've never expressed an opinion on, you might as well have the rest of the conversation without me too.

posted by Etrigan at 09:14 AM on November 28

Yeah, this is weird. I got nothing against people dressing up and/ or leading chants, I just find it hard to gin up sympathy for someone from a rival team who tries to turn it into a cottage industry. Sorry for harshing your mellow.

posted by yerfatma at 09:31 AM on November 28

When I was a kid, I loved Crazy Ray at Cowboys games

Do you think the fact that you were a kid may have had something to do with this?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:35 AM on November 28

At this time, I would like to put in a good word for the steadfast, lonely mofos that sat way up in the Felix Baumgartner seats far removed from the rest of humanity and solemnly pounded those mournful drums during games at Cleveland's old Municipal Stadium, when the Indians sucked and there were maybe 3,000 other miserable lake-effected people in the ballpark.

posted by beaverboard at 09:39 AM on November 28

That's actually just one guy. He also has a wikipedia page.

posted by bender at 10:28 AM on November 28

Since you apparently already know how I think about someone I've never expressed an opinion on, you might as well have the rest of the conversation without me too.

I made an educated guess based on your comments. Someone who regards Fireman Ed as self-aggrandizing would've also regarded Crazy Ray as self-aggrandizing. You said you don't like "a lot" of the self-aggrandizing super-fans. Ray was the epitome of that phenomenon.

Do you think the fact that you were a kid may have had something to do with this?

Of course. But I didn't stop liking his presence at Cowboys games when I grew up, and I enjoyed pointing him out to my son. This was in the '90s. Ray and stadium announcer Murphy Martin were the last part of the team's glorious Landry years who were still around.

There are kids who like Fireman Ed and adults who grew up liking him too. Sites like Flickr are full of pictures that people took of him (and with him). The idea he lost some "dignity" as a fan by cultivating a persona and never missing a game makes me wonder how much dignity you think there is in sports fandom. Every time I get worked up over the outcome of a game, my sports loathing wife thinks I'm an idiot.

posted by rcade at 10:30 AM on November 28

I made an educated guess based on your comments. Someone who regards Fireman Ed as self-aggrandizing would've also regarded Crazy Ray as self-aggrandizing.

Third time might be the charm: I have no opinion on Fireman Ed.

I would say the epitome of the self-aggrandizing fan was Rollen Stewart, but YMMV.

posted by Etrigan at 10:44 AM on November 28

rcade, if you're for fans kidnapping people, there's not a lot more to discuss.

posted by yerfatma at 11:00 AM on November 28

The idea he lost some "dignity" as a fan by cultivating a persona and never missing a game makes me wonder how much dignity you think there is in sports fandom.

If you want to know what I'm thinking, maybe you could try asking "What do you think about...?" It's a lot more straightforward and more likely to get you the answer you claim to be seeking, although it may not be the one you want.

I think when you ask the question "How much dignity do you think there is in sports fandom?", you've got the stick by the wrong end entirely -- but you've got plenty of company. There are plenty of people who clearly are drawn to sporting events because of the opportunity it gives them to act like a buffoon in public, free of censure. I've seen enough of this to think that it's a basic human urge, to act like a clown from time to time. It's the "from time to time" thing that's important. How much dignity is there in sports fandom? Just as much as there is in the human condition. If you're governed by the need to play the fool in public, so that you can't just shrug and walk away from the whole thing with no drama, no histrionics, no lip-quivering declarations about how tragic it all is...you lack dignity as a human being, and sports fandom has nothing to do with it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:37 AM on November 28

If you want to know what I'm thinking, maybe you could try asking "What do you think about...?"

I can't recall a time here when special phrasing was required to draw an opinion out of you.

There's a difference between fans behaving badly and fans cultivating an attention-getting persona. Crazy Ray acted silly for the amusement of fans. He rode a cloth horse on a stick, made balloon animals and engaged in mock fights with Chief Zee. Nothing he did would have required a special environment where he'd be free of censure.

posted by rcade at 11:55 AM on November 28

There's a difference between fans behaving badly and fans cultivating an attention-getting persona.

Similarly, there's a difference between cultivating an attention-getting persona and thinking you're more important than the game -- take away the off-field crimes and just look at "the John 3:16 guy," and he's still a putz who detracted from the game with his antics. I'm not saying that Crazy Ray or Fireman Ed are on the wrong side of that (very blurry) line, but that line does exist, and you can be against attention-whore fans without wanting the whole stadium to sit on their hands and whisper appreciatively.

posted by Etrigan at 01:19 PM on November 28

I can't recall a time here when special phrasing was required to draw an opinion out of you.

And I can't recall a time here when you were able to refrain from passive-aggressive swipes at people who disagree with you. You've been doing it to people throughout this thread, along with a generous larding of strawman argumentation and conveniently sloppy restatements of other people's beliefs. Let me put it to you straight: people in this thread have been talking about what they think, and you've got some inexplicable need to beef with them about it, despite the fact that NO ONE has tried to bully YOU out of your belief that Fireman Ed or Crazy Ray are an essential "part of the show". I suggest that you stop trying to promote groupthink; it's a waste of time. People hold different views than you.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:39 PM on November 28

You're reading way too much into the ordinary give-and-take of a discussion. Nobody is being bullied out of their position because a disagreement is taking place over whether Fireman Ed sucks.

P.s. It makes me sullen and resentful when people confuse my subtle mockery with passive-aggressive behavior. It's like my dad always said, "shut up son and bring me another beer."

posted by rcade at 03:41 PM on November 28

If two separate people think you're being a dick, then the problem in the communication might not be comprehension.

posted by Etrigan at 03:51 PM on November 28

Nothing I've said to you is as strong as you calling me a dick, Etrigan. I presumed you wouldn't like Crazy Ray and was wrong. That does not make me a bully. Now shut up and hand over your lunch money or I'll give you a purple nurple.

posted by rcade at 04:03 PM on November 28

P.s. It makes me sullen and resentful when people confuse my subtle mockery with passive-aggressive behavior. It's like my dad always said, "shut up son and bring me another beer."

I think you have to have a certain relationship with people in order for them to see that intention and be okay with it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:56 PM on November 28

If I had better relationships I wouldn't have to engage in mildly aggressive wordplay on the Internet.

The real reason to resent Fireman Ed is that everything he's achieved has been on the shoulders of others.

posted by rcade at 05:07 PM on November 28

You three are being very silly, but only exactly one of you is being a dick, and I don't think its rcade.

posted by Adept at 06:54 PM on November 28

Well, don't keep us in suspense.

posted by yerfatma at 09:08 AM on November 29

Should we do a poll or something?

posted by BoKnows at 04:17 PM on November 29

At my age, I'm exhausted by all the polling outreach that I've had to respond to this year. I need a break.

posted by beaverboard at 06:10 PM on November 29

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