Ed Anzalone, who became better known as Fireman Ed, announced his decision to step aside from his role as New York Jets super fan on Sunday. He became synonymous with the team over the years, but the gimmick had run its course.
Writing a guest column for the Metro, Fireman Ed stated he still plans on supporting the Jets from the stands but without the usual hoopla around him. He said polarization among the fanbase and an increased amount of incidents with other fans forced the change.
I will always love the Jets because they are in my heart, and I will attend games as usual, just not as Fireman Ed. God bless and, as always, let’s go Jets!
Fireman Ed has drawn a lot of heat from fellow Jets fans for wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey. The Tim Tebow chants during recent home games illustrate that at least a sizable portion of the fanbase is looking for a change under center.
Judging by his column, that contrast has caused tensions to rise as the Jets suffer through another disappointing season. It's easy for fans to get along when the team is going to AFC title games. Not so much when the team is 4-7.
It's impossible to overlook the fact that it probably doesn't sit well with some fans that Fireman Ed is a fixture on national television broadcasts when Jets home games are involved. He gets all the attention when others have been going to games for just as long, or longer.
When you put it all together, it's just not a good recipe. Fireman Ed has enjoyed the spotlight for a long time, stepping aside to avoid any further conflict is a wise choice.
While the gimmick hadn't completely jumped the shark, it was well on its way. It no longer carried the same allure as it did even a handful of years ago. By stepping away now, you get the sense he was feeling the same thing.
At some point it simply isn't worth the grief anymore. It appears Fireman Ed reached that point around halftime of the Thanksgiving night game, which is around the same time Bleacher Report tweeted a disgruntled picture of him.
So much anger in Fireman Ed right now. twitter.com/BleacherReport…— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 23, 2012
The J-E-T-S chants will go on. And there will surely be people attempting to replicate what he's done with hopes of attracting the national spotlight.
One of the toughest things for an athlete is figuring out when to step aside. The same was likely true for Fireman Ed, who clearly still has a passion for the franchise. But it safe to say he's hanging up the fireman's helmet at the right time.
The gimmick was fun for awhile, but those days were fading away. Fellow Jets fans clearly agreed. Now Fireman Ed is simply Ed Anzalone once again.