NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York Jets are hoping to find a superfan — or superfans — to keep their iconic chant alive.

But that wasn’t Plan A.

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“Fireman Ed” Anzalone says prior to announcing the online contest, the Jets took him out to lunch in hopes that he’d return.

“Originally, they called me to see if I would come back to what I had done. They took me out to lunch to see if I had any interest in coming back,” Anzalone told Kristian Dyer of Yahoo Sports. “I said no because it was the same problem, I couldn’t take my kids to the game. I told them I wouldn’t come back.”

Anzalone led the “J-E-T-S” chant until 2012, when he stepped down mid-season because he said he was sick of being harassed at games. The vibe at MetLife Stadium was at its worst that year during the Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow disaster.

Recently, Anzalone criticized the entitlement culture introduced by personal seat licenses — better known as PSLs.

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At the beginning of last season, Jets prodded the crowd to lead the chant themselves, section by section. Then the “Aviators” drum corps gave it a shot but there was something missing. Anzalone, who still attends games, would be the first to admit it.

“The chant hasn’t been the same. I talk to Jets fans every day, they see me on the street. They say it isn’t the same,” he said. “I will always love the Jets but I think my time has come and gone. We need a young guy in there.”

That doesn’t mean we’ve seen the last of the old guy. Anzalone said he’d return for “one game if the situation was right, if the team wanted me back – if the fans wanted me back.”

“I want this chant back because it’s the best in all of professional sports,” he said.

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