A former firefighter stationed in Harlem, Anzalone has been main chants since 1989, which can also be the 12 months ESPN’s Chris Berman gave him his now well-known nickname. He’s been a fixture at dwelling and street video games ever since (although he’s taken a number of years off right here and there), typically leaning one leg up on a railing as he launches into his signature, “J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets!” chant.
“Once you don’t win a championship for 54 years—and also you share a stadium with the Giants, who’ve received 4—it’s not simple,” Anzalone continued. “However that makes me love ’em much more. It exhibits your ardour, your loyalty.”
Whereas most followers on the tailgate had been carrying jerseys (some had been even brave sufficient to sport new beginning QB Zach Wilson’s quantity), others selected to don t-shirts that extra precisely depicted their way of thinking. One learn “Oh The Ache” within the form of the Jets brand, whereas one other spelled out Jets as “Simply Endure The Struggling.”
Everybody was wanting to share—nearly as a type of catharsis—their very own distinctive tales of the place they had been and what they had been doing once they heard concerning the season-altering Rodgers harm. One fan mentioned he was listening on his automotive radio and almost swerved off the street. One other was half asleep on the sofa and thought it was a nasty dream.
“I used to be on the sport and bought to my seat a bit late, proper initially of the Jets’ second drive,” mentioned Tim Mullins, a lifelong fan from Manhattan. “I suppose I mainly missed the Aaron Rodgers period!”
And whereas Jets followers are break up on how the group ought to proceed, significantly on the quarterback place, there was a rising consensus on the tailgate as to why the Jets are mired in catastrophe.
“Joe Namath bought his soul to the satan, plain and easy,” mentioned fan Steve Mulvey, solely half joking. “Joe mentioned, ‘I’ll star in these adverts for pantyhose and fur coats if I can get one Tremendous Bowl—after which the group won’t ever win one once more.”
As if to elucidate himself, Mulvey added: “I’m a Mets fan, too, so… I’ve bought points.”
No matter why the Jets have skilled extended agony, Anzalone mentioned his mission the remainder of this season is obvious: Maintain followers optimistic and cheer the Jets on to pretty much as good a end as doable, possibly even sneak into the playoffs. And as increasingly followers packed into the tailgate, Anzalone grabbed a microphone and led one in every of his signature chants. A couple of followers with Chiefs jerseys wandered in, to a spattering of boos, whereas a canopy band began up a rendition of Lit’s “My Personal Worst Enemy” (possibly a becoming track for Jets followers).