It will likely prove to be one of the iconic moments to emerge from the New York Jets difficult and at times rocky seasons, the embracing of ‘Fireman Ed’ by wide receiver Robby Anderson this past Sunday. The moment happened by chance but showed a certain passion that has sparked the Jets in recent weeks.
And perhaps as player hugged the team’s most visible and storied of fans, a moment that can unite the organization moving forward.
The Jets got on the score board first this past Sunday, quarterback Sam Darnold’s 23-yard pass to Anderson putting the home team up 7-0 over the Pittsburgh Steelers. It would be the Jets lone touchdown in a 16-10 win and after he rose up to grab the perfectly seamed pass from Darnold, Anderson celebrating by embracing ‘Fireman Ed.’
The Jets super fan, Ed Anzalone was surprisingly not in usual spot in his seats behind the end zone where he leads the iconic ‘J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!’ chant before games and after touchdowns. Instead, Anzalone was along the sidelines, leading to an unplanned and spontaneous moment of Anderson embracing the franchise’s most recognizable fan.
“There was a Hall of Fame ceremony for the New York Jets fans so the organization asked me to participate as a member,” Anzalone said.
“They were showing the newest members at the first TV break and we were there to welcome them.”
It was the type of moment that couldn’t have been pre-meditated or planned, that the Jets, massive underdogs against the Steelers, would score on their opening drive. Or that Anzalone would be there, in the corner of the end zone and not in his usual seats.
It was especially meaningful since several thousand Steelers fans were at the game and loud at that point. Anderson’s embrace of Anzalone seemed to energize the Jets fan base to rise above the decibel level of the away fans. Perhaps, it played a role in neutralizing the Steelers fans.
Nevertheless, it was a special and important moment for the Jets in what has been a fractured and difficult year on and off the field.
“That just happened. He caught the touchdown and came our way,” Anzalone said.
“I was pumped from the catch. I just reacted and grabbed him and picked him up – he was excited! He made a helluva a catch. Pure emotion, that moment is what football is all about! All the Jets fans would have done the same. I was just in that spot – the fans were jacked up!”
After the touchdown celebration by Anderson, which was caught live on CBS, ‘Fireman Ed’ was trending on Twitter.