Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Mangini Gets Last Laugh, Hired By Browns

Eric Mangini just got the last laugh. A week after getting uncerimoniously canned by the New York Jets for a horrible five game collapse at the end of the 2008 season, Mangini has agreed to a four year contract to become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

It has been speculated for days that Mangini would take over in Cleveland after his interview with Randy Lerner went really well, so much so that Mangini's arch enemy from the New England Patriots, Scott Pioli, who was in line for the GM job at Cleveland, was not invited back for another interview.

For Mangini, this is sweet vengance and a chance for him to come full circle. Mangini got his first NFL job with the Browns back in 1994, when Bill Belichick took a liking to him as the team's ballboy. Now Mangini comes home.

In a way, Mangini has a chance to really become the next Belichick. Belichick was a complete failure for Cleveland in the mid 1990's. He moved on to the the Patriots and Jets as an assitant from 1996 to 1999. When Bill Parcells steped down as Jets coach in 1999, making Belichick the head coach, Belichick decided to split from Gang Green and go the Pats where he has made history winning three Super Bowls.

Mangini, was spurned by the Jets a week ago because the ownership group felt they needed a fall guy for Brett Favre's nine interceptions in the final five games. Overall, Mangini underachieved as head coach of the NYJ, but now he has a chance, a second chance like Belichick, as he tries to take Cleveland to heights they have never seen before.

If you need evidence how much Mangini was appreciated by his former Jet players, read this quote from running back Leon Washington: "I am really happy for Coach Mangini," Washington said in an e-mail. "I learned so much from him while he had his tenure with the Jets. His hardworking, selfless and competitive approach really helped me ... The Browns got themselves a really good coach."

As for the Jets, they continue to toil in a mess of their own making. Woody Johnson was on vacation when Bill Cowher wanted to speak to him about the Jets coaching job, ticking off Cowher and ending the Jets hope of getting the best coach on the market. They are also responsible for getting Jeff Jagodzinski fired by Boston College after he broke his contract to interview with the Jets. The Jets still have no idea who their coach will be in 2009, and fans are preparing to throw Johnson's PSLs back in his face.

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