If you asked me to name the one coach in professional sports who I would not want to play for, the answer would take, oh, 1/100 of a second to come to mind: Eric Mangini
Men like Mangini always forget what this profession is truly about: Not grit, not determination, not improvement. Not even winning. No, first and foremost, professional sports are about entertainment. They’re about giving Joe Six Pack (to rob from Sarah Palin) an escape from the dreary 9-to-5 Groundhog Day existences most of us have. Nobody watches the NFL to see Eric Mangini or Josh McDaniels or Bill Belichick pace the sidelines with a “Who farted?” look on their face. No, this is supposed to be fun. Joy. Pleasure. (In Belichick’s defense, at least he wins).
Yet Mangini, even more than the other two, oozes strident bulls—. He speaks in this boring football code; lies to the media; treats his players like children. This, from today’s SI.com:
Though the Cleveland Browns were able to lure to town today a couple of players with connections to coach Eric Mangini (safety Ray Ventrone and guard Billy Yates), multiple sources have told us that some agents plan to steer their clients away from the Browns. Right or wrong, there’s a sense of discontent regarding the new regime in Cleveland, where coach Eric Mangini and G.M. George Kokinis are running the show, with Mangini serving essentially as the man in charge. In the offseason, feathers were ruffled when Mangini took first-year players on a ten-hour bus ride to Hartford, Connecticut to work a youth football camp. Also, the lingering contractual impasse regarding receiver Josh Cribbs could be creating trust issues, given Cribbs’ strong belief that owner Randy Lerner promised to re-work Cribbs’ below-market deal, and the fact that Mangini/Kokinis have denied the allegation.
I tend not to believe such information. But this, I believe. If you’re 24- … 25-years old; an up-and-coming player looking to make money, play to your potential and have fun, would you play for a man who, literally, never smiles?
I know I wouldn’t.