Fireman Ed quit because people thought he was shilling for the team. So the Jets tried to convince him he should shill for the team.
You know Fireman Ed, the Jets' superfan, right? The guy who leads the J-E-T-S chant? Well, you might not have known this, but he isn't the Jets' superfan anymore. He quit following the Buttfumble game.
Mind you, he didn't quit because of the Buttfumble, but because he felt his fellow fans were aggressive towards him, saying he was nothing but a shill for the team, as he appeared in their marketing campaigns and wearing a Mark Sanchez jersey instead of his traditional Bruce Harper game.
So for two years, the team has not had a superfan to lead cheers. They've had... other stuff. And the other stuff hasn't worked, at least not to the team's liking. So they tried to get Fireman Ed back, as Kristin Dyer of Yahoo writes:
This past April, Anzalone (Fireman Ed's real last name) said the Jets reached out to him about making a comeback. This led to an April meeting with a member of Jets management.
"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 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.
This is a professional sports franchise pleading with a fan to dress up in over-the-top clothing, because people aren't cheering enthusiastically enough.
On the one hand, it's somewhat sweet to see a team that cares about one of its fans, yearning for the way things used to be, and hoping for a booming, boisterous fan experience. On the other hand, it's a tad sad, right?
Ed still goes to the games as a regular fan, but he won't put on his fireman gear if he feels his fellow fans think he's selling out. Now that we know the team basically tried to buy him back, he's probably never gonna be able to pull of the Fireman gig without the ridicule he fears, so, I guess don't expect that.
The Jets are hoping to find a new fan to fill the role vacated by Ed via contest, but we'll see how that works out.