Oh, what a night.
Thursday Night Football. The New York Jets vs the 5-2 Buffalo Bills. Our only nationally televised game of the 2017 season. Perfect November weather. The only chance for the Jets and their fans to show the world that we are not the laughingstock that the national media makes us out to be. It also happened to be First Responders Night and only a few days after the deadliest terrorist attack on New York City since September 11th.
There was a noticeable buzz throughout the parking lot and on the way in to the stadium. Jets chants were raining down on us as we took the escalators to our seats in section 314 of the upper deck. There were plenty of Bills fans in the house, but on this night they were forced to sit on their hands.
The Jets got off to their usual fast start, scoring a touchdown on their second drive to take a 7-0 lead. Shortly afterwards, I heard a roar coming from the mezzanine and as I looked over to see what all the commotion was, I saw a familiar face in his familiar #42 Bruce Harper jersey. I had to rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. I wasn’t. It was Fireman Ed rocking section 204. There was no way I was going to miss this so I immediately texted Kevin Sirkin (Fireman Ed’s NYJFTV co-host) and we made the quick trip down to the mezzanine to help Ed out.
Tonight We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 2010
I mean no disrespect to any of the people who have led the chant since Ed stepped down. They are great fans and do their best to help create a home field advantage but there is nobody on the planet that can rock that stadium like Ed can. It’s isn’t even a debate.
There are many people out there who have some sort of misguided anger towards Ed. Most of them judge him based on internet rumors, half-truths and/or flat out lies. The man bleeds green and white and he never once abandoned the team. He attends every home game, as he has since 1975. He simply stopped leading the chant when he became a target for fan anger. I have sat with him at many games. None of you understand what it’s like to be him if you haven’t seen it first hand. The entire game – even mid-play – people that love him want to talk to him, take selfies with him, get autographs, etc. Those are the nice people. His haters throw ketchup packets at him, they spit at him, talk trash to him and have even attempted to start physical altercations with him. Keep in mind… these are JETS FANS!
Fireman Ed is a fucking legend. If you are a Jets fan and you hate him, you are misguided. If you were in attendance tonight and you still hate him, you either hate having fun or hate creating a home field advantage.
Typical Social Media Responses
Should I be surprised that the biggest loser on the Jets beat thinks that it is ok to smear a legendary Jets fan? Probably not. But I am surprised that he didn’t check his facts before his totally unprofessional twitter rant. As previously stated, Ed attends every Jets home game (and some road games) on his own dime just like most other fans. His decision to step out of the spotlight and attend the games as Ed Anzalone instead of Fireman Ed is PROOF that he loves the team more than the persona. This is far from the first nationally televised home game since he hung up the helmet. Who knows what inspired him to lead the chant today. Fair weather fan? What a laughable argument. The Jets were 3-5 entering this game.
Maybe it was because it was First Responders Night. Maybe he wanted to support this young squad. Or maybe he just decided to make tonight the night he threw that stadium back to the way it used to be. My take? Who cares why he did it. All that matters is that it was fun. Really fun. The crowd went nuts. The team loved it. If that isn’t a good enough reason, you need to check yourself because you are doing this fan thing all wrong.
I hope Ed continues to do his thing for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, because the people that love and appreciate what a difference he makes in that stadium deserve it. Two, because Ed loves leading that chant. Three, because it pisses off his haters and those people shouldn’t get to win.
J-E-T-S… Jets! Jets! Jets!