Fireman Ed Anzalone, who was actually a New York City fireman and is best known for leading a very simple spelling-based chant at Jets games, is not famous for talking. He's not really famous at all, actually; he's a guy in a fireman's helmet who puts an angry look on his face and helps Jets fans spell the word "Jets" during Jets games. This is the sort of thing that gets a person on television during Jets games, and which will probably get a person recognized at Applebee's; Fireman Ed seems like the sort of person who really likes being on television, and enjoys being recognized at Applebee's. He is also, like his sunnier Los Angeles counterpart Clipper Darrell Bailey, someone with the innate and necessarily shameless ability and weird will to co-brand himself with a sports team; unlike Clipper Darrell, he seems like someone who would love to get into a fight with someone, really anyone. (This is because he is actually like that.) He has his own Wikipedia page, which is something.
Even when the Jets are not ridiculous, or are ridiculous in endearingly overstated way instead of their current bummer-funhouse-reflection-of-a-troubled-culture way, Fireman Ed is ridiculous. This is kind of inherent to the Designated Shrieking Guy At Game role, of course, but also unique to Fireman Ed, who clearly sees himself as a vital component not just of the Jets Game Experience (he's right up there with the ritual, routinized show-your-tits chants), but as an actual member of the Jets: the team's beating, yowling heart.
Some years, this role seems more appealing than others. When the Jets win, Fireman Ed gets to be... well, still mostly a guy helping people spell "JETS" on Sundays, but he gets to be close to a good team, and claim a little of their toughness and brashness and success as his own. When the Jets are not winning, as they are during this flubby, feud-y, butt-fumbling nightmare season, Fireman Ed is, again, mostly the guy helping people spell a four letter word, but one who suddenly finds himself, pop-eyed and screaming in a losing team's jersey, in the middle of a sort of existential crisis.
On Thanksgiving, the Jets got squashed by the Patriots, 49-19; Fireman Ed left the game at halftime, along with a great many others. On Monday, he published a brief and poignantly grandiose resignation of sorts from his unofficial role in the New York Metro, which is one of the two free papers that commuters generally decline on their way into the subway during the morning rush hour.
The reason for Anzalone's formal resignation from his informal tuff-cheerleader role can be reduced to the Jets being a fucking bummer, but Anzalone does not reduce his decision in that direction. He does not reduce it at all, actually. "The confrontations with other Jets fans have become more common," Anzalone writes. The reason for these confrontations is never quite explained; it might have something to do with Anzalone's Mark Sanchez jersey, or with the Jets playing badly, or with the sudden, crushing and late-arriving realization among Anzalone's fellow Jets fans that it's awful to sit in the cold next to someone screaming profanities and rudimentary spelling lessons at the top of his lungs for four hours. Anyway, there have been confrontations.
"This is an indication of how society has lost and is continuing to lose respect for one another," Anzalone continues. "The stadium has become divided because of the quarterback controversy as well. The fact that I chose to wear a Mark Sanchez jersey this year and that fans think I am on the payroll—which is an outright lie—have made these confrontations more frequent. Whether it’s in the stands, the bathroom or the parking lot, these confrontations are happening on a consistent basis. Although I can 'hold my own,' I do not want to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake. I have a responsibility to the families and kids that enjoy the game and Fireman Ed."
It is with that great and entirely imaginary responsibility in mind that Anzalone resigned not from going to Jets games, but from being the Designated Belligerent Man In Helmet at Jets games. For a while, or maybe forever, but most likely for as long as it takes for someone who believes that he has a responsibility to other peoples' kids to yell cursewords at Ryan Fitzpatrick to realize that he misses, and in fact actually needs those "confrontations in the bathroom." That or he can get to work on "Fireman Ed's Open Mind," the Charlie Rose-style serious talk show I've been trying to get him to do for a year.
But yeah, Fireman Ed will be back, albeit probably in a different player's jersey. After all, what is he going to do at a football game if no one's watching him? What will he cheer for if he's not cheering for himself? And, yeah, what about the children and all that.