Fireman Ed is hanging up his helmet.
New York Jets fan Ed Anzalone wrote in a guest column for Metro New York newspaper Sunday that he will no longer lead the "J-E-T-S!" chants at home games or wear his firefighter hat because "confrontations" between him and other fans "have become more common."
The former New York City firefighter, who left the Jets' 49-19 loss to New England at halftime Thursday night because of those confrontations, says that MetLife Stadium has become divided over support for quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Anzalone, who used to wear Bruce Harper's No. 42 jersey, has been wearing Sanchez's No. 6 this season.
Anzalone says his choice to support Sanchez has led to more frequent incidents, whether "in the stands, the bathroom or the parking lot," and he doesn't want "to lose my temper and make a stupid mistake."
Anzalone also said that he is not on Gang Green's payroll, which he calls another misconception that often leads to disputes. Though he won't be leading the stadium in the J-E-T-S chant, Anzalone said he will continue to attend games as a fan and looks forward to the day he can celebrate with the team as they parade down the Canyon of Heroes with the Lombardi Trophy.
"I will always love the Jets because they are in my heart, and I will attend games as usual, just not as Fireman Ed," Anzalone wrote. "God bless and, as always, let’s go Jets!"