Jets give Fireman Ed game ball

Updated: September 25, 2009, 8:12 PM ET
Associated Press

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Fireman Ed has something new to cheer about.

The Jets' most famous fan received a game ball from coach Rex Ryan during the team meeting Friday for helping lead a raucous Meadowlands crowd during New York's 16-9 win over New England last Sunday.

[+] EnlargeFireman Ed
AP Photo/Kathy WillensEd Anzalone, a New York City firefighter, has been coming to every Jets home game for years, wearing a fire helmet and leading the "J-E-T-S!" cheer.

"On behalf of the fans and representing the fans, we gave him a game ball," Ryan said. "There's two, actually, one in our trophy case and we gave him the other one. He does a great job."

Ed Anzalone, a New York City firefighter, has been coming to every Jets home game for years, wearing a fire helmet and leading the "J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" cheer.

"That's really the first time I'd ever seen him," Ryan said. "When I was here before as a visitor, I kind of blocked everything out and never really noticed him. It's hard not to notice him when you're standing on the sideline and he's getting the fans going and everything else."

Ryan sent a voicemail message to season ticket holders last week, urging the fans to make things "miserable" for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The fans answered that call, and after the victory, Ryan said they were the difference in the team beating New England at the Meadowlands for the first time since 2000.

"He wasn't the only fan you would notice, but I don't know the names of everybody else," Ryan said. "I'm sure there was Fireman Joe and everybody else out there. It was great because they're our fans and we decided it was a little token of our appreciation to give him a game ball."

Anzalone was also able to briefly address the men he cheers for.

"He was great," Ryan said. "He was all fired up. He's expecting a lot of wins, as are our fans, and he said this is only the start and our guys understand that."

Anzalone, who usually wears a No. 42 Bruce Harper jersey to games, was included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Hall of Fans in 1999.

"Their passion is as great as mine is," Anzalone told the team's Web site of Jets fans. "There's no difference. I'm just blessed to be able to lead the orchestra, to get them crazy."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press