Reflections on Man"Genius"

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IJanuary 7, 2009

With Eric Mangini’s hiring as the latest Cleveland Browns head coach, i.e. good luck, let’s look back at the career of the newest victim, I mean coach, of the Browns organization.

He was hired away from the Patriots coaching staff by (one of) their arch enemy, the New York Jets.  Inheriting a 4-12 team, an easy schedule, and absolutely no pressure to succeed right away, he led the team to a 10-6 mark and playoff appearance. 

Right away he was dubbed as “Mangenius”.  It didn’t matter that the team was crushed in the playoffs by that same Patriots team.  They had stolen a disciple of Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick, one who didn’t seem to like him, and the feeling was definitely mutual.

Instead of following up a good first season by turning his team into a consistent winner, he decided to get his acting career going.  He made a cameo appearance on “The Sopranos” as...well...himself.  We knew that because he was called Mangenius, not because he identified himself as him, or even had one line or even any impact on the episode. 

Maybe he knew his coaching success was a fluke and he’d need another job A.S.A.P.

Tony Soprano went over to “say hello” which might imply that Mangini is connected and that’s how he got the Jets job in the first place. 

Just as “The Sopranos” ended, so too did Mangini’s success as a coach.  The team went right back to 4-12 the next season, which had to beg the question, why call him a genius after just one fluke season where he still lost to his boss in the playoffs? 

Perhaps the Jets were so desperate for hope that they had to anoint this “Mangenius” before proving anything.

And now, just over a year and a half after his television debut, it looked as if Mangini would never even appear in a highlight reel again.  After all, he was fired even BEFORE Lions coach Rod Marinelli, who couldn't even get ONE win this season.  But luckily for Mangini, the Cleveland Browns began their latest coaching search at the same time he needed a job.

If only I could examine Browns’ management’s brain for a moment.

Let’s see, the team failed with one former Patriots assistant, so let’s hire another one.  Maybe they realized no one else would be stupid enough to coach Cleveland and might even see Detroit as a more desirable job and had to settle with what they could get.

I’m kind of disappointed.  I was looking forward to Mangini going back to Belichick, the same man he blew the whistle on in the whole Spygate scandal, and asking for a job.  Maybe old Belicheat would need a new water boy, or heck, even a new video recorder.  One has to wonder if that would be more or less demeaning than coaching the Cleveland Browns.