Eric Mangini sat next to his former New England Patriots player, Tedy Bruschi, on ESPN's "NFL Live" set Tuesday, looking like he'd rather be anywhere. This was squirm-in-your-seat television, an awkward moment that Mangini is forced to re-live in some fashion every time Spygate is brought up.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh's comments about the Patriots' Super Bowl titles being "tainted" in the public's eyes brought up the topic. Mangini, who was an assistant in New England before taking over the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, has previously said he regrets turning in the Patriots in 2007, but he never expressed his remorse with as much depth as he did Tuesday.
"If there is a decision I could take back, it's easily that decision," Mangini said, according to ProFootballTalk.com. "Never in a million years would I have wanted it to go this way. It's disappointing whenever it comes up. It's regret, it's disappointment, it's all of those things. Because I know what it took to win those Super Bowls, and I have so much respect for the people that were involved there. I'm disappointed that this is what it's translated into."
Mangini has chosen a life in the media, so the videotaping scandal isn't a topic he'll be able to avoid. Former Patriots such as Bruschi wind up playing defense when the story takes on a new, artificial life of its own.
"To have guys like Tedy have to defend the championships that we earned in New England, and to have anything taken away from the Kraft family, from Coach (Bill) Belichick, and the players and coaches that have meant so much to me, never in a million years did I think it was going to translate into what it was going to translate into," Mangini said. "And it doesn't tarnish what we achieved there. It doesn't tarnish what they achieved after the fact. I think when you look at the history of success that they had after that incident, it's pretty obvious that it didn't play any type of significant role in the victories we had or the success that we had."
(Cue the moronic: "But they haven't won a title since!" crowd.)
The whole story is a little depressing, especially listening to Mangini. He understands well it's part of his legacy, if not the biggest part of his legacy. It sounds like he lives with his regret every day.