Ed Anzalone, better known in New York as "Fireman Ed" is a staple at New York Jets games. Although there is some debate on the subject, Ed claims to have begun the famous cheer heard during every home game: "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!"
During the Jets first pre-season game against their in-state rivals, the Giants, there was a quick incident played out on the in-stadium jumbo screens related to Fireman Ed. The night was like a movie premiere during the inaugural game played at the New Meadowlands Stadium, a $1.6 billion edifice built for both New York NFL teams, that unfortunately is still stuck in the swamps of New Jersey.
Ed is a hero in New York, at least among Jets fans and has become enough of a celebrity that it appears he now has a sense of entitlement about his position along the railing as official stadium cheerleader. Even the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizes him as the Jets representative in its Hall of Fans, a sponsored exhibit in Canton, Ohio.
In the early going of the Jets 31-16 loss, Ed had been replaced near the stadium railing and started shoving aside the interloper who, gasp, wore a Giants jersey. Ed finally reclaimed what he considers his rightful perch.
He donned his firefighter's hat with the Jets insignia and began his signature chant: "J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS! But the sneering that followed as he screamed an emphatic "Yeah," seemed to come from the depths of his being. His face contorted in either anger or triumph. Either way it wasn't a pretty sight.
He resembled some jungle cat who had dethroned a lesser animal in the food chain. He stood on his perch and the veins in his face and neck bulged enough that if you watched in HD, you might have thought he was in need of a medic.
It was an angry and unattractive Fireman Ed. For a moment or two, it was unclear if we'd see an all-out brawl during which a very fit and buff Ed would have put a beat down on some pretender in a Giants jersey.
New York is pretty much divided by its football loyalties and there isn't much love between the Giants and Jets fan bases. When they sit in the same rows, wearing their own colors, it can resemble a street fight in a gang-infested area.
If you're wearing a Manning jersey in blue and white, you're the freaking enemy dude. Doesn't matter if you're my mail carrier and I love you when you bring my Sports Illustrated every month.
Luckily, the crowd kept its head as the silly Giants fan was pushed aside by the king of the Jets fan base. After all, he is Fireman Ed, right?