A Tip From Mangini Sparked the NFL’s Spygate Investigation – Following a Week 1 loss to the New England Patriots in 2007, Eric Mangini (Head Coach of the New York Jets at the time) informed the NFL that his former boss, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick illegally videotaped the defensive signals Jets coaches were sending onto the field. After the League’s investigation, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Bill Belichick $500,000. The Patriots organization was also fined $250,000 and docked a First Round Draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Following a dustup caused by Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, here is what Mangini had to say on the topic:
“If there is a decision I could take back it’s easily that decision. Never in a million years would I have wanted it to go this way. It’s disappointing whenever it comes up … It’s regret, it’s disappointment, it’s all of those things. Because I know what it took to win those Super Bowls and I have so much respect for the people that were involved there. I’m disappointed that this is what it’s translated into.”
“Never in a million years did I expect it to play out like this. This is one of those situations where I didn’t want them to do the things they were doing. I didn’t think it was any kind of significant advantage, but I wasn’t going to give them the convenience of doing it in our stadium, and I wanted to shut it down. But there was no intent to get the league involved. There was no intent to have the landslide that it has become.”
Following his departure from the Patriots in 2006, Eric Mangini took the reins as head coach of division rival the New York Jets. What followed was a series of contentious matchups and hilarious postgame handshakes. This caused major damage to the relationship Mangini and Belichick shared. They had worked together in the 90s when Belichick was the head coach of the Browns. Maybe this is Mangini’s way of apologizing? Whatever it is, the damage has been done and Mangini’s words came too late. Belichick’s reputation has taken a hit, but he is still regarded as one of the most respected minds in the business. After 3 seasons and only one playoff berth, the Jets fired Mangini, who quickly landed with the Cleveland Browns. Consecutive 5-11 seasons lead to him being fired once again. He now works as an analyst for ESPN. One has to wonder what would have happened had Eric Mangini never contacted the League regarding the Patriots videotaping practices.