Patriots Talk: Eric Mangini Told ESPN He Still Wishes to Reconcile With Bill Belichick After 10 Years
It’s pretty incredible that over a decade ago, the Patriots and SpyGate scandal was all the NFL and sports media would talk about. Back then, it was a never ending torrent of potential implications that painted the Patriots organization as cheaters and law breakers. When in reality, this was simply Bill Belichick spiting the newly elected Commissioner Roger Goodell. On the latest ESPN news for the off-season, Eric Mangini was asked this past Saturday at his alma mater, Bulkeley High School, for his youth training camp, about his current status with Belichick. Mangini confirmed that since 2007, Belichick and him have not once spoken to each other.
“Look, Bill is a big part of my life. Bill gave me a tremendous opportunity, and I enjoyed that experience, and I respect him. It’s disappointing, the way it’s been. Hopefully, it can change at some point.”
“It was never supposed to go the way that it went,” he said. “It was more about, ‘Hey, don’t do this here.’ It wasn’t about reporting it. Sometimes things get out of hand and get rolling in one direction. It was never, ever supposed to go that way.”
Mangini’s relationship with Belichick began in the NFL under him while with the Cleveland Browns. (which spawned many NFL Head Coaches, Coordinators and even General Managers for many years to come) In many ways, Belichick had known Magini arguably longer than many of his former staff from that era. And despite his lack of discussions with the Patriots Head Coach, he is apparently still on good terms with the other staff such as offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia who was an instructor at the Saturday training camp.
While Mangini has been out of coaching, it not difficult to see why Belichick hasn’t exactly let go of the whole ordeal. Before the SpyGate scandal broke, Mangini decided to leave the Patriots in 2006 to become the New York Jets’ head coach, which massively strained their relationship. But the relationship was severed during Week 1 of the 2007 season. Before the Patriots played against the New York Jets, Mangini told the Jets security to keep an eye on the Patriots’ sideline, where they were illegally videotaping opponents’ game-plan signals.
And this started one of the biggest controversies in NFL history and one of the biggest stings against the Patriots that dubbed them ‘the Cheatriots’ to the rest of the NFL. Belichick and the PAtriots were fined Belichick over $500,000(the most ever fined by a Head Coach in NFL history), the Patriots organization received $250,000 and removed their 31st overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft. What has followed has never left the Patriots even today, despite the team winning two Super Bowls in the last 3 seasons, its a label that the Patriots seemingly will never be rid of.
What Mangini did was the very definition of betrayal of his former mentor’s trust, but he wishes things could have gone differently. It doesn’t matter what Mangini does now, he is out of the league and is unlikely to be given any favors from anybody. When someone rats out his former team and coach like what Mangini did, it will never get you anywhere in the league because trust needs to be earned.
This writer has very little sympathy for the man as what Mangini created was something that went way further than it really should have, but nothing can turn back time. In many ways, Mangini may be earnest about trying to salvage his destroyed relationship with Belichick but there are no signs of it ever happening. The ESPN writer had mentioned in a news conference in 2016 where Belichick listed every single coordinator that he had in New England since 2000. The only name that was not listed was Mangini’s, I think that right there is all that needs to tell any reader where Belichick stands on this.