Sept. 30, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Fireman Ed gets the fans going before the game between the New York Jets and the San Francisco 49ers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
A time-honored tradition is over at Jets’ games, thanks to a few fans that actually believed it to be intelligent to take out their frustration on the biggest Jets’ fan in the building. Then, the Jets are ruining it even further by trying to force it to occur.
Fireman Ed, aka Ed Anzalone, was facing fairly regular harassment from Jets’ fans, that went so far as having beer thrown on him. In an interview with AP, Ed talked about the last straw, which occurred during the “Butt-Fumble” game in 2012. The long time chant leader nearly got into a physical confrontation with two frustrated fans. Fireman Ed realized it was time to go at that point.
So this is a two-part story, as we first re-visit Ed’s departure. He led the team in the chant for 27 years, and was forced to call it quits due to some stupid drunk fans. Fans were frustrated, not happy with how the team was playing. So, the logical response is to harass and threaten the biggest Jets’ fan in the building? Only in our fan base does this type of “logic” seem to play out.
But now, we have the team, taking an organic, quarter of a century long tradition, and forcing it into a mandated event.
For anyone that missed it, the Jets are hosting a contest to determine who will lead the J-E-T-S chant during the eight home games this season. It’s open to season ticket holders, who can enter via the team website.
It has been rough since Fireman Ed left, and this makes the situation even rougher. Traditions become such when they happen organically. By that I mean, they just occur, they aren’t formalized by the team, or a website, or a mention on the scoreboard. The best current example is the tradition at Yankee Stadium, where the fans chant the names of each player out there on the field to start the game.
Formalizing, and running contests to lead a chant is ridiculous. This would almost be like the public address announcer at Yankee Stadium saying, “It’s time to cheer the name of each of our starting players, followed by five claps. Is everyone ready?”
Woody, and whoever else is behind this, leave well enough alone. Let the cheer just happen, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.