By Peter Schwartz
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So the big news this week is that Fireman Ed is hanging up his hat.
After being harassed by fans because he decided to wear a Mark Sanchez jersey this year, the “biggest” Jets fan on the planet is calling it a career. He says he will no longer lead the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! chant because he doesn’t want to get into any altercations with fans.
“He’s been really supportive,” said Sanchez. “Obviously, I appreciate that. He’s been around a long time, he’s seen the ups and downs of our team and obviously if his safety is in jeopardy here than maybe it’s a good move. But he’s been a very supportive guy so he seems like a good guy to me.”
And to that I say… Good riddance!
Here’s a guy that acted like he was the only loyal fan out of 80,000 people in the stadium. Let me tell you something. I know plenty of people who are better Jets fans than him. Guys like Ira from Staten Island and my buddy Larry from Hartsdale have never heard cheers from the fans, but they deserve some accolades for their loyalty.
As for the man formerly known as Fireman Ed, maybe he can chat with Bobby Valentine about a disguise to wear when he decides to come to games.
So without Fireman Ed, Jets fans need a new leader.
“I was disappointed because I love that guy’s passion and energy that he would bring and really, he’s a great fan,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I really admire him. He was great. But I think (if) we do our job on the field, that Jet chant will continue. But I certainly appreciate Fireman Ed.”
The Jets need a loyal fan to fill the void and keep the fans in the game. Jets Nation needs a new celebrity supporter that embrace plenty of face time on the jumbotron and on telecasts.
I know just the person for the job.
My resume speaks for itself. I’ve been a Jets fan since I was born. I waved my little silver spoon in the air when Joe Namath was running off the Orange Bowl field after winning Super Bowl III.
In 1977, I attended my first Jets game, a loss to the Bills on a cold December day at Shea Stadium. The following year, the weather was much better on opening day when my dad took me to see the Jets whoop the Dolphins 33-20.
I’ve been through all of the ups and downs. From huge victories like the “Monday Night Miracle” against Miami, the playoff clinching win over the Packers in 2002, and the post-season win over the Patriots two seasons ago to heartbreaking moments like the Dennis Byrd injury, painful playoff losses to the Browns, Steelers, Bills and Dolphins, I have been with this team every step of the way.
I had season tickets from 1991 until 2001 and I’ve also had the privilege of covering the Jets for various outlets including WFAN since 2010. Being around the team that I love as both a fan and a reporter has been a tremendous experience for me.
But perhaps, the time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my Jets life. I’m ready to take the responsibility left behind by Fireman Ed. I want to climb up on someone’s shoulders (God help them!) and belt out a J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS chant!
I will not act like a jacka–! I will serve the fan base in a very spirited yet professional manner. It won’t be about me…it will be about us supporting our team. I want to be your leader!
I haven’t attended a Jets game as a fan since 2005. That day, I went to see the Jets face the Buccaneers with my wife Sheryl who, at the time, was pregnant with our first child. We all welcomed back Vinny Testaverde who led the Jets to victory that day.
We now have two boys making up a four pack of Jets fans in the Schwartz household and I look forward to that first family outing to see our team play. Perhaps I’ll put Bradley and Jared on my shoulders and let them do a few chants.
The bottom line is this. Jets nation is not about just one person, but that’s what Fireman Ed believed. It’s about 80,000 screaming fans making life miserable for the opponents. It’s about those fans at home without tickets cheering on the Jets from their living rooms. It’s about walking around you neighborhood getting your green on and being proud about it.
Okay so maybe we’re not at the proud point yet but you know what I’m talking about!
Fireman Ed’s time is done! Now it’s our time to keep the ball rolling.
J-E-T-S JETS! JETS! JETS!
OH YEAH THERE’S A GAME ON SUNDAY
With five games remaining against teams that are under .500, the Jets have a chance to, somewhat, salvage their season. Even if the Jets run the table and finish 9-7, it’s highly unlikely that it would be good enough to make the playoffs.
However, the team’s focus is not on the final five games. It’s simply on this week’s game with the Cardinals at MetLife Stadium as they try to turn the page from the Thanksgiving Night Massacre against the Patriots.
The Jets welcome the Arizona Cardinals to the Meadowlands on Sunday. Perhaps they will be good tonic for the Jets as they have lost 7 straight games after a 4-0 start.
Then again, maybe the Cardinals are looking at the Jets as good tonic for them.
“We’re playing a team that is a lot like us,” said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was once a tight end for the Jets. “They’ve had moments where they’ve looked very good and other moments where they haven’t. They’ve had their mistakes. The guys want to get a win. That’s what this business is all about. Our message is how we prepare and getting ready for this New York Jets team.”
The Jets have certainly been offensively challenged this season and they will not exactly have a walk in the park Sunday against a Cardinals defensive unit ranked 7th in the NFL.
As the Jets prepare for Sunday, they are not looking at the Cardinals as a 4-7 team.
“Absolutely, their record isn’t indicative of the way they play, their effort and how talented they are, so it’s going to be a good challenge for us,” said Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. “We’re happy to get them at home and to see what we can do. We know it’s a great defense (with) a lot of playmakers.”
The Jets now embark on a 5 step program to salvage their season. While the playoffs may seem a reach, it’s not impossible. Since the NFL went to the 12 team playoff format in 1990, three teams have been 4-7 but went on to make the postseason.
1995 San Diego Chargers
1996 Jacksonville Jaguars
2008 San Diego Chargers
The Jets have the right attitude. They are taking it one game at a time. The final four games mean nothing if they don’t win this week. While a playoff run seems like a pipe dream for the Jets, a win over the Cardinals would, at least, keep them relevant for another week.
JETS/CARDINALS ALL-TIME SERIES
The Jets lead the all-time series against the St.Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals 5-2. After losing the first two games in 1971 and 1975, the Jets have won five straight including 56-35 win in 2008. In that game, Brett Favre threw six touchdown passes.
Kickoff on Sunday is at 1 p.m. eastern time. The game will be broadcast on FOX 5 with Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick calling the action.
The Jets will host their 13th annual Military Appreciation Day on Sunday. There will be fifteen members from each branch of the military on hand and they will unfurl the American flag on the field for the national anthem.
In conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program and A-1 First class Moving and Storage, the Jets will hold their annual Touchdown for Tots Toy Drive this Sunday. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to benefit the Toys for Tots Program that will be collected at all gates when you enter the stadium.
This is strictly for my own agenda but Cardinals center Rich Ohrnberger is from Long Island and went to my alma mater East Meadow High School. In 2003, he was named the 2003 New York AA Player of the Year while playing for the East Meadow Jets.
HAIL TO THE CHAMPIONS!
Congratulations to my son Bradley and the rest of his teammates as the Levittown Red Devils won the Nassau Suffolk Football League Pee Wee Division III Super Bowl.
Levittown Red Devils Win The Super Bowl November 25th, 2012 018.jpg
The boys, and girl, did a great job beating the East Meadow Rams 20-0. While many of the kids will be moving up to the next level next season, Bradley and the returning players are already thinking about what lies ahead of them….
A Red Devils repeat!
My record this season: 8-3
The Jets are a mess right now but they are facing a team that is even worse shape. The Cardinals are in shambles having lost 7 straight games. It won’t take much to beat this team so I think the Jets figure out a way to score at least one more point than Arizona.
JETS 20 CARDINALS 16
That’s all for now! Check back Monday for more!
Would Schwartz make a capable replacement for Fireman Ed? Sound off below…