As I am sure you are all well aware, Jets’ fan Ed Anzalone – better know as Fireman Ed – left Thursday Night’s game at halftime. Jets fans were enraged at Ed’s decision to leave the game – calling him a quitter, among other things – and took to Twitter to blast him on Friday and over the weekend. Unfortunately, Ed was unable to respond to his Twitter critics, as he deactivated his Twitter account on the way out of the stadium.
In an open letter on Metro New York, published this afternoon, Ed explained why he left Thursday’s game (confrontations with fans) and why it has led to his decision to step down as the team’s mascot.
Ed writes that while he’s not going to stop attending games he will no longer attend them as “Fireman Ed,” the face of the New York Jets fan.
Fireman Ed’s decision to step down/retire/whatever you want to call it has created quite the rift amongst Jets fans on Twitter. A good portion of the fan base could care less about Ed’s decision, others are pointing fingers at the fans who gave Ed a hard time and the rest are simply mourning the loss of what Ed’s presence represented.
Here’s a sample of some of the reaction on Twitter:
I respect what Ed does (or rather, has done, as he is no longer going to be doing it I guess?) for the fanbase over the years – particularly as the leader of the famous Jets chant at the stadium – and I certainly understand why people are upset. Whether we like it or not, Ed is a part of a tradition and the Jets’ fan experience.
That said, my fandom – and this is just my personal opinion – is not contingent upon what Ed does or doesn’t do. If Ed wants to leave the stadium, that’s his decision. If Ed wants to wear a Sanchez jersey, that is his decision. I think many fans, however, are bothered by the fact that everything Ed said or does is supposed to somehow represent what they think or feel (not unlike their reaction to a lot of what Joe Namath says and does), and that is where a lot of the anti-Ed commentary (I’ll call it that, for lack of a better word) comes from.
I won’t criticize either side, I will just step aside and say it doesn’t particularly bother me, but I suppose that is because I am a younger fan (something I refuse to apologize for).
But more importantly, I certainly would have preferred Ed had come out to say that he left the game because he was disgusted by the team’s performance and the decisions and actions of the front office – and take a stand and make a statement to those in charge AS a representative of the fans – rather than say he was given a hard time for wearing a Sanchez jersey. BUT this is the sad reality for Ed and the Jets’ fan base right now — we are divided over a (non existent) quarterback “controversy” and we are so upset and frustrated with the team we have resorted to giving a hard time to the one guy who is available to us.
As my friend Joe Caporoso tweeted (@TurnontheJets), what’s even more interesting is that the fan base, rather than talking about the REAL issues with this team, are now busy tweeting, arguing and whining about Fireman Ed (and a fake twitter account — if you don’t know what I mean, just ask).
Dysfunction doesn’t even begin to describe it.