Lost in the celebration of the one year anniversary of the “buttfumble” in the New England Patriots-New York Jets game, Thanksgiving is also a time to give thanks for another remarkable milestone in Meadowlands history, the same game that saw superfan Fireman Ed abandon his post and leave the Jets high and dry before halftime.
So where is Ed? He said he wanted to retire, but like every other person who has retired before him, Fireman Ed seems to be having some difficulty filling his time. We caught up with him at the Plainfield Curling Club in New Jersey to see how he’s doing and ask him what life is like without spending his Sundays with the Jets.
KSK: Thanks for meeting with us, Fireman Ed. Should we still call you Fireman Ed? Or do you prefer just “Ed” these days?
Fireman Ed: YOU!
Fireman Ed points to two older women working a small snack stand. One laughs as she stirs a vat of hot chocolate, while the other turns away to mess with the hot dog rollers, obviously annoyed.
Giggling Older Woman: You!
Fireman Ed: CAN!
Giggling Older Woman: Can!
The woman is growing flush.
Fireman Ed: CALL!
Giggling Older Woman: Caaaaaaallll!
The woman starts coughing, this exercise is obviously taking a toll on her. The other snack worker hands her a cup of hot chocolate and a handkerchief.
KSK: Please, you don’t have to do this for our sake. We have nanas too we worry about.
Fireman Ed: (To the snack workers) Take a break, Sylvia! You’re the best fan in this joint! GO PLAINFIELD CURLING!
Fireman Ed turns to us, a bit dejected.
Fireman Ed: You can call me Ed. Or Fireman Ed, up to you. I’m still a fireman. Still wearing my hat.
KSK: We see that. We’re sitting here in this curling rink, watching what I’m assuming is a curling match.
Just then two people go by with brooms and some sort of stone. Fireman Ed stands as if trying to get the wave going as they sweep past us.
KSK: Does this really take the place of leading a crowd of 82,000 people spell out J-E-T…
Fireman Ed covers his ears.
Fireman Ed: NANANANANANANANA I CAN’T HEAR YOU.
KSK: (Hands up in surrender) Does it really take the place of your old team?
Fireman Ed: What people don’t appreciate is that you can have a good time cheering for anything you like in life. Superfans cheer for reality shows contestants, for their favorite bands to win awards, for their favorite movies to succeed at the box office. My life was cheering for football, but when I removed football I found a deeper meaning to cheering. I don’t just cheer for a team anymore, I cheer for life. I cheer for anyone who needs that extra boost as they go through their day. Isn’t that right, Matt? GO PLAINFIELD CC! GO! SWEEP, SWEEP SWEEP!
Two more people broom their way down ice in front of us again, paying scant attention to the ruckus going on along the railing. A quick count shows there are only four other people in the stands, six if you count the snack counter ladies.
KSK: That’s pretty deep, Ed. So you’re cheering for other sports other than curling?
Fireman Ed: Oh sure. I followed the Rutgers crew team around for awhile this fall, which was an easy way to fill my Saturdays and Sundays. Got so busy with that, hardly remembered there was even football to worry about. There’s always lots of local 5Ks around different townships, so I can cheer for at least two or three races a week. I tried cheering for my local high school field hockey team, but quickly realized that may not seem appropriate. I also ran into a certain quarterback a few times and it was just awkward, sort of like when you see your ex-wife while you’re both out on dates. You start performing for them and not who you should be cheering on.
KSK: Do you miss spelling things out? We reported earlier this year that your former cheer subjects were having problems spelling without you.
Fireman Ed: You can spell anything out if you’re committed to it. Sometimes I drive out to east part of Long Island just to find Native American town name I haven’t tried on a crowd before. Usually end up leading those chants at farmer’s markets, but it’s still fun. Quiogue versus Quioque can be tricky.
KSK: Do you ever get recognized?
Fireman Ed: All the time, but people are cool about it and leave me alone. Really, I feel like I get the Dean Cain treatment, which is nice. Respectful even.
KSK: One last question. Last year when you left Coach Rex Ryan said that if the team did their job the cheers would continue without you. Your former team is now 5-6, and have solid wins against the Saints and the Patriots. Do the cheers continue?
A silence falls between us, punctuated by the sounds of curling stones clacking against each other.
Fireman Ed: IF THAT SKINNY-FAT FUCK THINKS HE CAN TEACH GENO SMITH HOW TO LEAD A TEAM TO THE PLAYOFFS, THEN I WILL SWALLOW A FIREMAN’S POLE WHOLE IF THEY MAKE THE POSTSEASON. THEY’RE 2-6 IN THE CONFERENCE AND I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED IF THEY LOST TO BOTH MIAMI AND OAKLAND AT HOME IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. ED REED?!?! ED REED?!?!? ED REED IS GOING TO BE THE ONE TO FIX THEIR PROBLEMS??! HOW COULD THEY PICK UP A PLAYER FROM THE WORST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE AND THINK THEY’RE MAKING A POSITIVE CHANGE?
KSK: Thanks for your time, Fireman Ed. Keep cheering for life, Ed. Keep cheering for life.
Fireman Ed: I WISH I COULD QUIT ON THEM TWICE.