From The Outside Looking In – Buffalo Fan On Fireman Ed

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Every now and then, we like to publish an outside opinion. Today’s comes from Kevin Kelly of GET Broken Record, but more importantly of the Buffalo Bills fanbase. I was curious how somebody outside of the Jets fanbase, looked at the situation. So here it is - 

The New York Jets can learn a lot from the Buffalo Bills & the Cleveland Browns. Here’s why:

The Jets just lost their most notable fan. What’s worse, the Jets community approached this headline the same way they’ve approached every other lackluster, problem-laced gag moment of the 2012 season: Point fingers, blame someone else, then isolate the lone problem and get rid of it in attempts to bring about that Championship season everyone keeps talking about.

Take a step back. Know that it’s a true impossibility to see the forest through the trees. And stop wanting everything you want right now just because you want it right now.

Overwhelmingly, we’re New Yorkers (Jersey, Northeast, Tri-State, fine, whatever) and as a result– we want everything now. Not in five minutes. Right. Now.

We get upset when there’s a line for coffee in the morning. We curse under our breathe when we miss a train by a split second, we’ve been the bridge or hit traffic in the tunnel and thought about leaving the city for good. Forever. Starting right now. –we’ve nudged, bumped, screamed & been screamed at, pushed, pulled & prodded all in attempts to get us wherever we were going just a little bit faster. Because we’re in New York. And New York waits for no Man.

Even right now, as you’re reading these words, there’s a chance you’re probably thinking ‘Get to the point’ 

The only place in the world where people toss aside their loyalty with reckless abandon is New York City. Believe me, when the Jets are good again,  when there’s no more snow and the weather is fair, you’ll be right back to loving that team you ‘never doubted for a minute’ and ‘always knew would pull it out’, but for now–because they haven’t given you all that you’ve wanted and all you think you’re entitled to and deserve just because you watch them on Sundays, you’ve turned your back on your team. Textbook New York sports fan. Love ‘em when they’re up. Hate ‘em when they’re down.

Blame Woody Johnson, he brought Tebow along when we didn’t need him.

WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT a business owner would make a move intended to generate revenue, merchandising & ticket sales.

Blame Rex Ryan, he talks way too much and won’t throw Sanchez under the army of buses Jets Nation has already rolled over him.

WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT a Coach would stand behind his choice when the going got tougher than its ever been. A coach publicly supports his mentee (with half a season to go) and the witch-hunt warriors want both their heads. Think about morral, think about Belief. A belief in oneself is the first step in achieving greatnessAnd if it’s not, why is that phrase in so many self-help books on personal achievement (i.e. Napoleon Hill’s Think & Grow Rich, Deepak Shopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, Jack Canfield’s Success Principles, all New York Times Bestsellers) A Coach’s job is to motivate, he’s not on the field. It’s a Coach’s responsibility to get the most out of the players on the field, and I think Ryan acts the way he does with this mantra in mind, however convoluted it might seem behind the smokescreen of screams and rants and raves.

For Rex to walk that back, shatters a psyche.

If Rex denounces Sanchez, then the last shred of mental composure goes out the door. When an athlete questions their ability, when they start thinking and analyzing and wondering “what if” …bad things happen. In sports, they’re called the “Yips”

Think about a kicker that misses a field goal opportunity early on in the game?

How does everyone feel the next time he’s got to go kick another one?

Yip.

Anybody remember Chuck Knoblauch in the postseason?  Yip. Rick Ankiel? Yip.

The most famous was Greg Norman. Arguably one of the greatest golfers in the world in the early 90s, in the 1996 Masters Tournament, Norman took a 6-shot lead over Nick Faldo into Sunday. He shot a 78, blew the lead and lost the Masters. It’s considered by many the greatest choke of all time.  Afterward, Norman was asked: “What happened? What went wrong” His answer?

“I turned the computer on. And couldn’t turn it off.”

Simply put, he thought way too much. We process constantly. We worry, over-think, over-analyze, create dozens (or more) of the worst possible hypotheticals. It’s poison, and it cost Greg Norman the Green Jacket.

For Rex Ryan to denounce Sanchez, someone who has heard the “amost” and “what-if” and “has to happen now” and “TEBOW” nonsense all season, would be catastrophic, and would cue the beginning of the end for #6 in a Jets uniform.

You could blame the owner. You could blame management. You could blame the Coach. You could blame the coaching staff. You could blame the players themselves. And now Jets fans, you’ve turned your sites on the FANS.  It promptly cost you one Fireman.

The point, dear Reader, is that you’re a Championship town cheering for a non-Championship team.

It doesn’t mean it won’t happen, it just means it won’t happen now. Are you the only team making blockbuster moves worth tens of millions and still end up with a losing record? The Bills aren’t good this year (as with most), but they’re not crying for Mario Williams’ head on a stick.

Yes, it sucks to be considered a second-tier team by your coworkers because they’re Giants fans… but who cares- that’s not how the rest of the country sees it. The Jets are struggling. Be a JETS fan and route for your team.

The Bills lost 4 Super Bowls in a row. Marv Levy kept his job, Scott Norwood was embraced by the Bills faithful, not rejected. Jim Kelly could run for Mayor and win. There are talks the Bills are looking to leave Buffalo, and what happened? The city rallied around their team, Jim Kelly is looking to buy it outright with a group of investors. Kelly by the way can be found in the parking lot of Ralph Wilson stadium on Game Days wearing a hoodie and tailgating with fans.

The Cleveland Browns are terrible. They’ve been terrible for a while. They were so bad, Art Modell picked them up, left the city and planted them in Baltimore calling them ‘Ravens’. Cleveland didn’t have a team for a while. But the city wanted it. The fans wanted their team. Good, bad, ugly, the fans supported their team. They have a new team now and play at a new stadium, they’re still not that good but they’re getting better. The ticket prices are just as expensive as anywhere else and any other game, the jerseys cost the same amount, the beer is expensive, the investment in time and attention among fans is identical anywhere else in the country (on average) than it is in New York but they don’t approach the field with the brashly arrogant New York attitude of “I just bought this ticket so win now or go to hell cuz YOU owe me!”.  Instead, they go out and support their team.

There is a reality oblivious to New York sports fans:  Fans, and the teams they cheer for, are really in this together. We’re happy when we win. We’re not happy when we lose. But we don’t abandon ship. The waters have been muddied with free agency but the colors on the uniform and what that stands for hasn’t gone anywhere. There is an unspoken sense of pride & community when you see someone outside of the sports arena with Jets apparel on, or find out they’re a fan in passing conversation. They are immediately closer to you. It’s a brotherhood.

Attacking itself from within is a cancer. United we stand. Divided we fall.  I’ll forgo the Gettysburg Address, but you get the point.

Players, coaches & executive personnel come and go. The undeniable constant that ties us all together is that the name on the front of the jersey is, has and will always be more important than the name on the back. Don’t ever forget that.

8 thoughts on “From The Outside Looking In – Buffalo Fan On Fireman Ed

  1. I always said I wish I grew up in St Louis, Such great football and baseball fans there…unfortunately Im stuck being in the same boat with a bunch of no-patience ass-clowns…doesnt help that ESPN is watched more in the NY/NJ area than any other sports area in the country, so they stockpile the Jets/Giants coverage making other teams hate on us almost as much as we do.

  2. This is all fine and good but we share a city with the freakin Giants who win a Superbowl every couple of years. None of the teams you mentioned have to deal with sharing the backpage like we do…

  3. with all due respect to the writer, i’ve lived through a lot of disappointment being a Jets fan, but this year seems especially embarrassing. Losing Fireman Ed is feels like a final straw, however i’m sure he’ll make a triumphant return.

  4. Well written. I’ve only been to one Jet game in the Meadowlands and was embarrased to be a part of the group of ppl who showed up. From what I’ve seen on tv it’s only gotten worse. This piece was written by someone with a pretty good perspective of the situation, I hope it’s not swept aside like so many pointless, rhetorical rants.

  5. I agree with many of your points, especially those about a lack of patience. That unrest travels upward from the fan base in a market like new york and i have no doubt in my mind that its lead to some poor plans, stop gaps, and a variety of short sided roster moves (see brett favre).

    That being said, I think you’re on a bit of a high horse here and are leaving out some facts about some of these more “noble” fan bases.

    Yes, the jets fans are rude, loud, and winey. I have season tickets, I’ve seen it for myself. And Fireman Ed’s comments about being harassed in the mens room and in the parking lot have conjured many memories of overly angry people with absurd wigs and/or painted faces who take them selves, this team, and the game of football way to seriously. I’ve seen the fights, I’ve seen the type of harassment he’s talking about and i cant say I blame him at all. Like Rex, he put himself out there in support of a sub par organization, and in doing so, made himself a target for a lot of morons.

    But, despite all of this, unlike Buffalo, and Cleveland, and Jacksonville etc, the Jets have rarely if ever blacked-out games or played to an empty stadium. Their fans show up. Always. Even if its to boo. A fundamental fact about new yorkers – more than being impatient- we are brutally unshy about our opinions. We’re just as quick to sing praise as we are to flip “the bird.”

    This fan base, myself included, are impatient, and angry, and fed up, but above all, we’re loyal. Like junkyard mutts. The problem is that the patience has run out. Its been over 40 years since our last super bowl appearance…a bit longer than “a few minutes for the next train.”

    And, as for your mention of “brotherhood”, that has just as much to do with the shared misery that is Jets fan-hood. Its a fact. Being a jet fan means a lot of frustration and foul moods, but we persevere. Every single time I’ve had one of those “passing conversations” you mentioned, that realization is always followed by a long sigh. Its more about shared consolation than it is about shared pride. But that’s this team, its in their make-up. They’re like that do-nothing uncle that mooches off your parents, but despite the frustration, you know you’ll always love him. Even when things are good, this fan-base waits on bated breath for that other shoe to drop, for the catastrophic melt-down, they key injury or whatever else could possibly go wrong.

    Ed said himself that he will continue to use his season tickets, and that his passion for this team will not change. All he said is that he’s no longer making himself a target for blind and drunken animosity that his fellow fans would like to be spewing to Woody or Tannenbaum.

    Thats my rant. Thanks.

  6. As a life-long Jets fan, let me just say “AAAAMEN!”

    This is why I hate most Jets fans… the knee-jerk compulsion to throw their QB under the bus and run him out of town.

    Boomer Esiason

    Vinny Testaverde

    Chad Pennington

    Mark Sanchez

    We have, EASILY, one of the dumbest fan bases in all of sports:

    1. Patriots
    2. Eagles
    3. Jets

  7. Dallas fan..NFC..Jets fan AFC, How much of a loser base is that!!Love to see them face off in the SB, but for now facing all the Steeler fans in my family is nothing less than excruciating. But actually getting angry??!! really??!!Drinking too much aside, it shows a telling lack of self esteem.Like the bully wanting to yell at everyone in the school yard and like macho minis that knows the players cant do anything. If you dont like the product, boo and yell..if you want to make it personal and ugly, you have a bigger problem than a game lost.

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