Eric Mangini: Is His Job with the Jets at Stake Against Miami?

Angel NavedoSenior Writer IDecember 26, 2008

During the offseason, New York Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum told reporters that Eric Mangini will “absolutely” be the Jets’ head coach in 2009—no matter what happens in 2008.

Now fans have to wonder how true that is. Those comments were made after a disappointing 4-12 season, and before the trade for Brett Favre. When Favre came to town, it was indicative of a team making preparations to win right now, regardless of any lip-service Jets’ owner Woody Johnson gave to reporters.

On Sunday, Eric Mangini has an opportunity to match his 2006 win total when the Jets take on the impressive Miami Dolphins.

But that doesn’t impress Jets’ fans right now—not after being 8-3 a month ago with the road to the playoffs looking to be made of solid gold and littered with confetti. Now, a 10-6 finish would feel like a failure.

The Jets need help to get to the postseason—a lot of unlikely help.

In all scenarios, the Jets’ must win. If they pull off that victory against the Dolphins, they need the Buffalo Bills to beat the New England Patriots—a team whose playoff hopes are in their hands as well—or they need the Jacksonville Jaguars to upset the Ravens in Baltimore.

Crazier things have happened, but none as crazy as the Jets being in this situation with a coach who will “absolutely” keep his job.

Jets’ fans are angry, and rightfully so. The heartbreak, the disappointment, and the embarrassment is second nature for Jets’ faithful during the regular season. There aren’t enough great memories.

When the team stopped playing well and everyone began looking for answers, the focus shifted directly to Eric Mangini. Why has his team been so unprepared and sloppy? What could possibly be the justification for this catastrophic collapse?

New York’s love-hate relationship with Eric Mangini is at it’s darkest. Everyone adored him when he took over after Herm Edwards abandoned ship. But at this point, just how different is Mangini from Edwards?

For all of the Jets’ woes during the Edwards era, there was a coordinator to shoulder the blame. When the Jets defense wasn’t aggressive enough, Ted Cottrell was fired for the fiery Donnie Henderson. When the offense was too predictable, Paul Hackett was fired in favor of the Titans’ Mike Heimerdinger and his stretch-the-field schemes.

In the end, fans discovered that it was really Edwards’ inability to effectively coach that led the Jets to spiral out of control. Do fans have to watch history repeat itself?

Once again, Mangini apologists are prepared to point to his coordinators. The Jets finally have 3-4 defensive personnel on the field, but they’re underutilized. When’s the last time fans saw the defense moving around and creating confusion before the snap?

Many Jets’ fans expected defensive coordinator Bob Sutton to be let go after the 2007 campaign. Rumors were circulating around Mangini’s intentions to bring in long-time friend Rob Ryan from the Oakland Raiders. But crazy Al Davis wouldn’t let Lane Kiffin fire Ryan, and the Jets had no one else in mind.

Brian Schottenheimer, once praised for his creativity on offense, was forced to scale back his offense for Brett Favre. The old man doesn’t like shifts and motion before the snap. It confuses him.

But do Jets’ fans deserve to deal with this all over again? Shouldn’t the head coach be responsible for the personnel he appointed?

At this point, there’s only one thing that could possibly save Eric Mangini. New York must beat Miami. The playoff scenarios and whom the victory helps are inconsequential. And if somehow the chips fall in Mangini’s favor for a playoff berth, New York needs to win at least one game.

Jets’ fans can handle losses—we’ve dealt with them for a long time. But we want to look competitive in the process. When New York has been run completely off the field with so much talent on the roster, it may be time to give honest consideration to beginning a new regime.


Angel Navedo covers the New York Jets for His work can also be found on, where he is the Head Writer, and on—a premier social networking site built exclusively for NFL fans.

He is also a Senior Writer at the Bleacher Report, where he is one of the New York Jets Community Leaders.