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  • Putting Out the Fire



    As usual, one of the more interesting stories of the day involves the New York Jets. This time, though, the story is not about the struggling product on the field. The story seems to be the effects produced by said product upon the fans off the field. Iconic NFL fan "Fireman Ed" has announced his retirement. The supposed end of an era brings up a few issues that I find interesting.

    The first and most obvious issue is how the modern environment tears down anything that is fun. The apparent reason for the personality to be buried is because other Jets fans like to try to bring down Fireman Ed and start trouble with him. Now, I think that being the face of a team and acceptance of the role brings easy criticism, but I also think that the element of a bold, crude, loud minority that breeds on places like Twitter every day is seeping into public areas. Of course, the alcohol does not help, either. Ed Anzalone is actually a retired firefighter. "Fireman Ed" is not actually employed by the Jets, but I bet they will miss him a bit. Rex Ryan says he will.

    Will the NFL miss him, too? Fireman Ed was a perfect match for some of the PR that the NFL likes to portray. He was a longtime fan who also was a regular guy. He was the perfect anti-thesis of the idea that the NFL is becoming too corporate on and off the field. Will we see more pictures of "Big Dawg" Thompson within the next few weeks? Or will we learn the name of the Raiders fan with spiked shoulder pads?

    Finally, Mr. Anzalone says that he will still go to games, but not as Fireman Ed. Unfortunately, I do not share the hope that he does that the verbal attacks will stop when he stops wearing his Mark Sanchez jersey or when he stops bringing his Jets fire helmet to the game. People don't forget that easily. People in real life would not be fooled when Superman removes his cape and puts on glasses. I once met Muggsy Bogues. He introduced himself as Tyrone. My first reaction was "Why didn't he say Muggsy?" Thankfully, the reaction stayed inward. Owners of personas do not get to say when they stop. The people do. The problem with being recognizable is that it makes you recognizable. Sean Connery has played William Forrester, Captain Marko Ramius and King Arthur. The public knows him as James Bond. Ed Anzalone is still "Fireman Ed."

    Another famous New Yorker once said that he didn't start the fire. It will be hard for Ed Anzalone to put this one out because he did help start this one. It is a role he accepted the responsibilities for.

    Comments 16 Comments
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      I disagree with your first, and most obvious issue. To me, the first and most obvious issue is, why is this even news?
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      As I said in the weekly thread, this guy has been a super fan for more than a quarter century. To see his fellow fans turn on him like that is pretty bad. I'm sure he's a self-promoter, but the culture stinks around some big teams. I imagine alcohol plays a part in all of this, too.

      The contrast with soccer fans in England is interesting. By and large, over there they have a code of not booing the team. So it follows that they wouldn't constantly berate a fellow fan.
    1. FrzzerBwler's Avatar
      I think this is news, in that it is another example of our society going downhill. Something I noticed before I stopped attending Bengals games was how much crowd behavior had spiraled downward.
      For example; as a kid when Cleveland was the opponent I always remembered hearing some very colorful language in the mens room. I'd smile because that was the only place I'd usually hear it and as a kid when you think you're getting away with something you like it. Now you hear the same foul language in the seating bowl. And though it is a reflection of society in general, that does not make it a good thing.
      Seeing what to me in some ways is the face of Jets fans, and a Fireman at that, being attacked is a pretty sad commentary. If he was standing and leading the cheer during plays I can understand others want him to stop because he would be blocking their view,though I don't think he ever did that.
      To attack any fan because of the jersey they are wearing, what is wrong with people?
      Have I ever laughed at someone because of the jersey they had on? Absolutely. Though I never confronted them about it or tried to make it an issue.
      wax's comment about soccer is interesting. A sport that at times has to deal w/ jerkwad hooligans, but even they have the common sense not to atttack fans of the same team.
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by SpartaChris View Post
      I disagree with your first, and most obvious issue. To me, the first and most obvious issue is, why is this even news?
      It is a sad day for self-promotion when an obnoxious self-styled "Super fan" can't stand act as a cheerleader without angry guys yelling at him.

      While I agree that fans are ruder than they used o be, I'll also say that the Jets fans that sit in the three or four rows behind "Fireman" Ed are probably ecstatic at this news.

      Watch for this guy to make the rounds of the morning talk shows. For a self-promoter, this is a brilliant move.
    1. SpartaChris's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
      It is a sad day for self-promotion when an obnoxious self-styled "Super fan" can't stand act as a cheerleader without angry guys yelling at him.

      While I agree that fans are ruder than they used o be, I'll also say that the Jets fans that sit in the three or four rows behind "Fireman" Ed are probably ecstatic at this news.

      Watch for this guy to make the rounds of the morning talk shows. For a self-promoter, this is a brilliant move.
      I don't mind the self promotion so much as he's a glorified mascot who decided to take his ball and go home. Again, I ask, why is this newsworthy?
    1. Curtis's Avatar
      Jets fans aren't exactly wholesome model citizens anyway and losing brings out the worst in people. That said, Fireman Ed is not an innocent victim. He has a big mouth and uses it often. He's nothing more than a chooch in a fire hat. Good Riddance. Now get off the cross.
    1. hobbes27's Avatar
      J-e-t-s s-u-c-k
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      I, personally, do not need cutaway shots of Fireman Ed every couple of minutes during a broadcast of a Jets home game, which is often what I get. I've never met the guy, but he's basically the NFL fan equivalent of 'famous for being famous.' I do not understand at all his relationship to the team or his role in the organization, if there is an official one--and I'm not saying he's paid, but it looks like the Jets built some sort of perch at the stadium from which to lead cheers, or something? So, he's just a (very visible) fan who announces his retirement (from...something) in an op-ed in a giveaway paper (a venue which I think probably more accurately reflects his actual significance). That's...fine, I guess.

      I'm all for passionate fans, but I'm with Pruitt. I would hate sitting near him. I can enjoy being surrounded by raving lunatics or I can watch the game with calmer, more rational people, but being near one Fireman Ed would drive me insane. It sounds weird, but I know I would hate that guy.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      The Denver Broncos barrel man gt a fair amount of publicity when he died this year, so I don't think what's happening in New York is out of line.

    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      It really has been fun watching the Jets fall apart hasn't it?
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Pruitt View Post
      It really has been fun watching the Jets fall apart hasn't it?
      =

    1. Curtis's Avatar
      Just
      End
      The
      Stupidity
    1. mkocs6's Avatar
      Look, I'm as much for a bacon-wrapped pork chop/medallion as the next guy, but I have no idea what's going on now...
    1. ScottDCP's Avatar
      Equivalent levels of deliciousness are these...
    1. Amy's Avatar
      I have to admit that, to me, as much as I respect Ed for being a great fan, it made my week even better to know my team broke the Jets, the crowd, and the most famous Jets fan of all - except Namath - in a 57 second timeframe on national tv.

      Maybe that makes me evil, and if so I accept it. After all, I do root for Darth Hoody!
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      I don't care about Ed.

      But wax brought up a fine point. Fans don't boo their own teams in soccer. But they do get into it with other fans (that will always happen).

      By the way, you have very few incidents in the NFL considering the amount of booze been consumed. I shudder to think what it would be like in Chile.