The road for former NFL head coach Eric Mangini has been an interesting one, to say the least. After going from being an offensive assistant for the Cleveland Browns in 1995, Mangini worked his way up to being the New York Jets head coach from 2006-08. From there, he caught on with the Cleveland Browns as their head coach, before working with the San Francisco 49ers as a tight ends coach (2013 and 2014) and then defensive coordinator (2015).
Unfortunately for Mangini, it may have been two specific incidents that potentially derailed his NFL coaching career, both of which he talked about in an interview with Brian Costello of the New York Post.
Spygate was an incident that New England Patriots fans and NFL fans alike won’t soon forget, as it took the league by storm. The Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick were caught recording defensive coaching signals, and it all came to a head during the Jets’ 38-14 loss to the team in Week 1 of the 2007 season.
“Spygate is a big regret,” Mangini stated. “It wasn’t supposed to go down the way it went down. . . . There was no great value in what they were doing. It wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it to me personally. It wasn’t worth it to the relationship.”
While Mangini didn’t want to spill the beans on the Patriots, possibly due to the relationship he had with his former team (he was with them from 2000-05), others in the Jets organization obviously did. When it all came out, the immediate focus turned to Mangini though, and many believed that he was the one who had pushed the dominant Patriots and basically turned them in. While that seems unlikely to be true at this point, Mangini vouched for how much he cared about the Patriots organization, and Belichick as well.
“I cared about [Belichick],” Mangini said. “I didn’t want to hurt him. I didn’t want to hurt the Patriots. They were a huge part of my life, too, and the Kraft family. The Krafts were always great to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking I really want to get these guys. My thought was I don’t want to put my team at a competitive disadvantage, no matter how small.”
That was just the start for Mangini, and in 2008, it was Brett Favre time. While the veteran quarterback had chosen to retire, and then unretire. Unfortunately, he was stuck looking for a home as the Green Bay Packers had turned to Aaron Rodgers. As Mangini went on to explain, the Jets apparently pushed the idea of bringing Favre to New York on him, something that he was opposed to.
While he finally agreed to it, there was one thing he pointed out which truly has to leave a sour taste in your mouth.
“I was told no matter what happens if we bring in Brett Favre, you’re absolutely safe,” Mangini said. “I probably should have gotten that in writing.”
Everyone knows how the ending went, as Mangini was fired after that season with Favre, one in which the team went 9-7, but missed out on the postseason. After his unsuccessful stint with the Browns from there, it’s obvious that many have turned sour on the coach, who’s only 45 currently. The man who even won AFC Coach of the Year in 2006 is now looking for a job, and waiting for just another opportunity to prove that he can a strong asset somewhere in the league.