Saturday, September 26, 2009

J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!

Any casual observer here knows I'm a diehard New York Giants fan, but that doesn't preclude me from following the other local team. I've been to countless Jets games over the years and any Jets fan knows about one of their biggest fans, Ed Anzalone, a NYC fireman. Like most of the NYFD Anzalone went through hell and back on 9/11 and the aftermath and is as good a guy as there is.

New Jets coach Rex Ryan has been rolling lucky sevens the past couple of weeks and the Jets fans at Giants Stadium last week rocked the house during their 16-9 win over New England. Playing that hand heading into Sunday's game against 0-2 Tennessee, Ryan cleverly found a another way to fire up the crowd: Handing a game ball to Anzalone. Say what you will about Ryan (like, um, maybe losing 100 pounds would be a good idea), but when it comes to currying favor with the fans, he gets it. Are you listening, Eric Mangini?
If you're a Jets fan, don't give up your dream of someday playing for the team. At this pace, Rex Ryan just might be willing to make it happen.

A week after delivering a phone message to season-ticket holders imploring them to be loud during last weekend's game against the Patriots, the first-year coach made the unprecedented move of delivering a game ball to the team's most famous fan - Fireman Ed - in recognition of the fans' support during the Jets' 16-9 win.

Fireman Ed, whose real name is Ed Anzalone, is a New York City firefighter who wears a Jets jersey and a Jets-themed fireman's hat to all home games and leads the crowd in chants of "J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!" He received the ball during a team meeting today.

"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."

Following Sunday's win, the team's first over their division rivals at the Meadowlands since 2000, many of the Jets credited the crowd with pumping them up.
You can guarantee another insane crowd Sunday when the Jets face 0-2 Tennessee. The scene last week against the Patriots was as loud a crowd Ive ever seen for the Jets since they're played at Giants Stadium.

Props to Ed Anzalone and the rest of the Jets fans. Of course, you still have another 14 games to get through...

BTW, Mark Sanchez is the real deal. He may not be his listed height (I towered over him when I met him at a USC practice last year), but the kid can play. I'd be envious if my team didn't already have Super Bowl MVP at quarterback.

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