Fireman Ed’s Message to Sam Darnold

We caught up with Fireman Ed in Detroit before the Jets played the Lions on Monday night football. Ed also had some very nice words to say about JetNation.com. That video appears below and directly below that video is a message Ed recorded for Sam Darnold. Sorry about the background noise, turn up the volume it is worth listening to.

Here is a thread in our forums that has Jets fans talking about Fireman Ed.

Folk Brings Stability

One of my earliest memories as a Jets fan was watching long-time place-kicker Pat Leahy waving goodbye to  fans from a car that circled the field as he requested one more “J-E-T-S” chant from the crowd.  As the story goes, Leahy had to wait a little longer than he expected as Fireman Ed was indisposed at that very moment.  After an extended wait, Leahy got that last chant, and it was a fitting sendoff for a player who filled the thankless role of place-kicker from 1974-1991.  I remember, thinking to myself “I guess it’s time for the Jets to get another kicker to step in for the next fifteen years”.  Little did I know, that slightly awkward wait for Fireman Ed would pale in comparison the wait Jets fans would have before filling his shoes with a kicker who would be more than just a flash in the pan.

After Leahy kicked for those sixteen seasons, the Jets struggled to find a kicker they could count on for more than a couple of season, and the ones who did hang around for more than a few years were often unreliable or just struggled to kick in the meadowlands with its swirling winds.

Cary Blanchard, a strong legged kicker with a linebacker’s mentality was up first.  Blanchard had a decent first season with the Jets but was replaced after struggling in year two, hitting on only 65% of his attempts.  The Jets replaced Blanchard with an aging Nick Lowery who had spent the previous 14 seasons kicking for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Despite kicking well in his first two seasons with the Jets before faltering in his third and final season, Lowery is probably best remembered for not for his kicking, but for an embarrassing event that took place in a game against the New England Patriots. Then Patriots head coach Bill Parcells openly mocked Lowery in a post-game press conference after learning that Lowery had slapped a Patriots ball boy for not keeping the football warm enough on a cold New England day.

Then came John Hall, a strong legged kicker out of the University of Wisconsin who would be the longest tenured Jets kicker since Leahy.  Hall spent five seasons with the Jets but his leg was more powerful than it was reliable.  Wildly inconsistent,  Hall had some good moments as a Jet but was signed away by the Washington Redskins after that fifth year.

After Hall was Doug Brien and we all know how that turned out.  Brien missed two late FG’s against the Steelers in the 2003 playoffs which cost the Jets more than just that one game.  Brien’s miscues  led the front-office to burn their first draft pick the following season on Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent.  Nugent spent three very ordinary seasons with the Jets and proved to be  a waste of an early pick for the franchise.

Following two stellar seasons from Nugent’s replacement, Jay Feely, the Jets signed Dallas Cowboys cast off Nick Folk.  Despite having made the pro bowl just two seasons earlier, Folk was let go by Dallas when he struggled in his third season when he made only 64% of his attempts.  That was four seasons ago, and now Nick Folk prepares to tie John Hall for the longest tenured kicker since Leahy, but he’s also been a much better performer.  “Folk Hero” is the nickname coined by Rex Ryan since Folk began drilling late, game winners for the Jets.   After a game-winning kick in week one, Folk would add another in week five on the road in Atlanta on Monday night, and added one more against the New England Patriots in week seven.  For his efforts, Folk was rewarded with a 4 year $12 million contract.  In today’s world of “here today, gone tomorrow” for NFL kickers, nobody knows how many of those four years Folk will see, but it’s fair to say that he has brought a level of stability to the position that Jets fans hadn’t seen since Pat Leahy was showered with that final J-E-T-S chant so many seasons ago.

Jets \ Cardinals Tailgating Video

Courtney Aurillo was back out at Metlife stadium before the New York Jets game vs the Arizona Cardinals.  After the news of Fireman Ed’s retirement, she interviewed fans, looking for his replacement.

You can check out the video below, but also please be sure to check out all of our past New York Jets videos as well on YouTube.

Fireman Ed Podcast

Nick Casale and Courtney Aurillo are joined by Fireman Ed on the Podcast this week. They take a look at the New York Jets and Ed shares his thoughts on Mark Sanchez and what the Jets must do to bring home the Lombardi.

Ed Anzalone also talks about why the Tim Tebow move was a good one. But he tells JetNation to back Mark Sanchez. If the Jets are going to win a world championship it is going to be with # 6.

Nick Casale and Courtney Aurillo are joined by Fireman Ed on the Podcast this week.  They take a look at the New York Jets and Ed shares his thoughts on Mark Sanchez and what the Jets must do to bring home the Lombardi.

Ed Anzalone also talks about why the Tim Tebow move was a good one.  But he tells JetNation to back Mark Sanchez.  If the Jets are going to win a world championship it is going to be with # 6.

“It’s all about the green and white, you are either with us or against us.” … Fireman Ed

Jets Activate Fireman Ed

The Jets made a minor roster move today.  They activated Ed Anzalone from the Physically Unable To Perform List.  Ed, who missed the entire 2007 season, is the Fireman who typically leads the J E T S chant on game day.  Welcome back Ed.

Randy Lange provides more details in an article on NYJets.com:

Chant After Me: Fireman Ed Is Back-Back-Back

One of the chief off-the-field elements missing from the Jets attack all last season was the absence of the man with the stern visage, the fireman’s hat and the No. 42 green jersey sitting atop another fan’s shoulders and uniting 78,000 fans as one in a legendary chant.

No, Ed Anzalone’s season on injured reserve didn’t cause the Jets’ 4-12 travails. But he was missed.

And now we at newyorkjets.com want to be the first to give you this four-alarm news:

Fireman. Ed. Is. Back.

“I’m going to return, full-fledged. I’m looking forward to it. I’m excited,” Anzalone told me the day before the Giants game. “I wasn’t there last year. I’m hoping the fans didn’t forget me.”

Forget him? Hardly. You can love the Fireman, you can hate the Fireman. But to metaphorically remove his headgear and change his neckwear, when Rev. Ed raises his hands up from his lower-tier pulpit, you rise and you open your hymnals:

“J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! Jets!”

Anzalone didn’t create the chant, but since 1985 he has been its caretaker, its public face. It is a sight and sound to behold, as one football observer, unaware of Fireman Ed’s power, told me for my book “Stadium Stories: New York Jets”:

“It’s amazing. Fans are making all kinds of sounds, then one guy stands up and everybody gets quiet and he starts moving his arms, forming letters, and a whole stadium spells out the team’s name as one.”

If there’s one thing that Ed wanted Green & White fans to know in his recent interview, it’s that the Jets’ record had nothing to do with his absence.

wasn’t there last year. I’m hoping the fans didn’t forget me.”

Forget him? Hardly. You can love the Fireman, you can hate the Fireman. But to metaphorically remove his headgear and change his neckwear, when Rev. Ed raises his hands up from his lower-tier pulpit, you rise and you open your hymnals:

“People think I was giving up, I didn’t want to come. It wasn’t that, believe me,” he said. “Whatever the record was, it didn’t matter. I was biting at the bit every Sunday. It was killing me that I couldn’t be there.”

“I’ve Still Got That Passion”

Anzalone was hurt fighting a fire. He underwent knee surgery on the eve of the 2007 season, but the injury that kept him away from the crowds was his neck. Doctors wanted to perform surgery but Anzalone decided to “rehab like crazy.”

The rehab got him back, but not in time for the season. “I thought I might try to come back for the last couple of games,” he said, “but my wife talked me out of it.”

This year is different.

“I’m 49. I don’t feel 49,” he said. “Of course, between me and the other firemen playing ball all those years, the body’s getting worn down. But the heart is still ticking. And I’ve still got that passion, I’ve still got that burning desire.

“Besides, I’m not the one who’s on the bottom.”

That would be Bruce, Ed’s section mate who a few years back replaced Ed’s brother as his foundation from which to lead the chant. And Anzalone, despite his season on the sideline, hasn’t forgotten his sense of timing.

“You’ve got to have a feel for the game,” he explained. “When a touchdown is scored, that’s obvious. So many other times you have to pick and choose. You don’t want to tick people off during the game.

“And the defensive chants are the hardest to come by. You’ve got to get people up from sitting on their butts. It’s a homefield edge. The players feed off that.”

Needless to say, the Jets and their fans will be nourished by a number of new additions to the squad over the past eight months or so. Fireman Ed has noticed. He loved what he saw of a certain No. 4 at last week’s final open practice of training camp, which he attended incognito (if that’s possible for him).

Great Time to Be in Green & White

“Watching Brett Favre that close, he just zips the ball,” Anzalone said. “Other guys throw a pass that won’t be that tight a spiral. It happens. But it seems like every single pass with him it’s a tight spiral. If you wanted to teach a kid how to throw a ball, that would be the guy to show him. And take the gray hair away and that guy is awesome shape, tremendous shape.

“But you know what’s more refreshing than anything with Favre? I’m just amazed at his humbleness. A guy with all those accolades, at that level for so long a time, to be as humble and grounded as he is … We went from a guy like Chad [Pennington], who just represented the organization so well, to another guy who’s on the same level, even a better, more accomplished guy.”

Anzalone admires not only Favre but all the other additions to the roster, all the on- and off-field happenings that have given the Jets, at least in the minds of their closest followers if not yet the local and national media, some extra juice heading into the coming season.

And the juice will be flowing at the Meadowlands on Sept. 14, when we hear the first Fireman Ed-led chants, at his first appearance since the Oakland game on New Year’s Eve 2006, before the kickoff at the home opener against the Patriots.

“The stadium for New England is going to be in a frenzy,” Anzalone said. “Man, I’m so fired up. I can’t wait.

“This is a great time to be a Jets fan.”

Many things will have helped make that so, including the presence of the man with the stern visage, the fireman’s hat and the No. 42 green jersey sitting atop another fan’s shoulders and uniting 78,000 fans as one in a legendary chant.

You can discuss this in our forums.