With football in a standstill right now, people can only talk about the upcoming draft. Next season seems like something Santa should be bringing as everyone has it on their wish list. But you will find those who are hopeful. The ones who are already counting the days until the Jets have their first ever home game in the new stadium against the rival Giants. A game many always look forward to. Some fans look forward to it more than others. One in particular is Fireman Ed Anzalone.
I sat down with with Ed in June of last year to get his thoughts in many areas. Ranging from the Jets chant to the Jets, to the new stadium and the PSLs. This time, I wanted to get his thoughts on what he thought about the season, the stadium, and if there will be a 2011 season. Ed, like always, shares some thoughts for the camera and has other thoughts off camera.
In the old stadium, Ed sat along the 20 yard line and had a great view of the field. Everyone knew where he was and it was easy for him to get up and lead the Jet faithful in the chants. Now, he has his seats in the end zone behind the goal posts where people have to look and see if he can be located. Not the best place to be to lead the crowd. But with the cameras and video screen, it helps the situation.
Ed knew the people he sat around in the old stadium. These were people who had their seats for over 20 years. Now, he is surrounded by different people every game. When Green Bay came to face the Jets, there were two rows of Packer fans surrounding him. Ed says it is a revolving door of fans who sit in the seats in the end zone. At least by him. Certain ticket holders look at the seats as an investment and will make their money back charging for tickets on a per game basis.
Ed notices how many are not really there to see the game. Ed says that they diehards are the ones who sit in the end zone to about the 20 yard line in the lower section. From about the 20-25 yard line to the other 20-25 yard line are the fans who are not truly there to see the game. They care more about the VIP clubs, Coaches Club, bars, lounges, and other places to watch the game. Ed says those seats are empty during the game, but the TV camera will not pick that up. The seats are gray for a reason. It makes the seat look filled on TV, even when it is not.
Ed has paid for four PSL’s in the lower part of the end zone. He went for the cheapest PSL’s he could afford. People question him actually purchasing them or if the Jets gave them to him. Ed knows that if he takes anything like that from the team, he will have to owe them something. He does not want to take anything form them or owe them anything. He pays like everyone else, and does not like it. He is stuck sitting around a revolving door of fans. Ed knows the real fans, the ones who stick it out in the worst weather sit closer to the top. Sounds like the hierarchy in the Roman Coliseum.
Speaking of true fans, Ed has even spoken with several Giants fans. Many fans do not like the new stadium at all for several reasons. For one, this stadium does not have their name on it. There are no red and blue seats. They have to share it equally with the Jets kills some Giants fans. Plus, some feel cheated by John Mara. They know his father would have never have approved anything his son has done. They feel fans have been treated better over their 90 year history and they have been slapped in the face.
Ed is optimistic the 2011 season will happen. if it doesn’t he does hold the team owners responsible. They have so much power and finances that they do not have to worry. This situation shows just how greedy they really are and not willing to give in to the players. He does feel the fans are caught in the middle and are always caught in situations with no thought. Ed believes if there is no 2011 season, then shame on the owners for doing so. Sometimes, there has to be give and take. Not just take.
There comes a time when some know their time is up. When a torch needs to be passed. Ed knows that time is coming soon for him. He is over 50 and knows he can not do the Jets chants much longer. He said if someone came along and thinks they can do it or takes a shot and doing what he does, then he would step aside gracefully. Ed believes in a few years, there will be some other Jets diehard fan doing what he does, and younger. And Ed is ok with that. he is content to just attend and watch the games.
Ed is not shy when it comes to giving his opinions. I just do not feel like giving them all away right now. Then what would be left for the documentary? I may decide to give people more in a little bit. It all depends on the lockout being lifted. There are appeals and so much more that can happen. So instead of writing about the Jets, I will have more on Fireman Ed.
Football is entering a new era. The NFL will not be the same after this lockout. The teams, players, and even the fans know that the sport of football has been replaced with the business of football. Fans are not fans any longer, they are consumers. Looked at for the dollar they spend. Long gone are the days where you knew people names in the stadium. Where you could get up close and personal. Now that is done on Facebook and Twitter. Ed saw the change coming years ago. He may be known as Fireman Ed to everyone, but to the Jets, he is both a consumer and a brand they can push to make them more money.