New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his former mentor Eric Mangini haven’t spoken since 2007.
That’s when the Mangini, then head coach of the rival Jets, gave up the goods on the Pats’ questionable sideline camera operation, igniting a firestorm that culminated in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sticking it to the team – a $500,000 fine for Belichick, a $250,000 for the team, and a forfeiture of their 2008 1st-round draft pick…
“Am I surprised? I hope it’s something that can come back,” Mangini told ESPN on Saturday while running a youth football camp at his alma mater, Bulkeley High School in Hartford, CT. “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.”
Mangini will go down in New England sports lore as the snitch who betrayed the man responsible for where he was at that point, while also helping to forever brand the Patriots in many fans’ eyes as cheaters year after year.
“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.”
Note to Mangini – don’t hold your breath on a reconciliation.