Jets Show Eric Mangini the Door after Missing Playoffs

Jonathan SzenicsCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2008

Less than 24 hours after missing out on the playoffs for the second straight season, the Jets have made another move that has shocked some. 

Coach Eric Mangini has been fired after three seasons at the helm, leaving the team without a head coach.

The move, which some people wanted and some people were unsure about wanting, was done at about 9:00 this morning. 

Gone now is a coach who apparently was not easy to get along with. 

Gone is a coach who has almost pushed Brett Favre to the edge. 

Gone is a coach who, while having three seasons to prove himself, may not have been given a fair shake at the end of the day. 

While this was a tough call to make, he still had one year left on his contract. Yes, three years usually gives management enough of an idea of what a person at the helm can do. Should the Jets have given Mangini one more shot? This is not easy to say.

In his first season, Mangini took a team that was terrible the year before, made them 10-6, and got them into the playoffs where they lost in the first round to the New England Patriots. 

In his second, a season that was destroyed by injuries, he went 4-12 and lost many of his supporting fans. 

This season, though, he got Brett Favre, started out 8-3, and bombed out down the stretch, finishing at 9-7. This was not good enough to get into the playoffs. 

The team finished two games off the pace from the Dolphins, who won the AFC East with the Jets' old quarterback, Chad Pennington, and the Patriots, who were without Tom Brady from Week Two on with a destroyed knee. 

Translated: Even without the Patriots' best hand, the Jets were still two games worse than New England. 

Instead of knocking the Patriots out of the picture in Week Two, the Jets let them hang around by losing to them at home. True, they beat the Patriots in New England to split the season series, but due to the circumstances up in New England, with the season they ended up having, the Pats had the better coach this season without a doubt. 

Could Mangini have gone 11-5 without Favre?  No, he went 9-7 with him. 

Ownership being tired of being behind the pack in the AFC East, in part, may have cost Mangini his job. 

Now, one step of the equation is complete. Mangini is gone, but will Favre stay? As usual, nobody knows yet and it could go in either direction. More importantly now, who will replace Mangini? 

Apparently, Bill Cowher is a target of the team, and he has turned down a Browns offer. This looks like a great start for the Jets. Getting Cowher would give the Jets one amazing backbone that they have never had before. If the team cannot get him, who else could fill the void? 

Jon Gruden could, but it would probably take the world to get him from the Bucs, even though they imploded down the stretch. 

Mike Shanahan could as well, and he may be on the block, considering the Broncos have been looking for an excuse to fire him the past few seasons, and that they may have their best one yet with the season turning out the way it did out in Denver for the Broncos. 

The team could also look to the college ranks to try to get a coach. This could work, but only under the right circumstances. The team would have to do their research and make sure that they would get a person that would command respect in the locker room. In recent years, the college coaches jumping to the NFL, and their results, have not been pretty at all. 

The Jets do not have the time to play around with situations like these, not with a new stadium opening in 2010. 

Regardless of what they do, they have to fill the void, and soon. If not, Favre will probably walk, and then the team will have a new coach and a new quarterback going into the 2009 season. 

While this may be a decent option after the brutal ending to the season, how many teams really want to deal with this during the course of a season? The answer is not many. 

Let the Bill Cowher watch begin.