Eric Mangini is a former head coach for the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, but history likely will best remember him as the whistle-blower who ignited the New England Patriots' videotaping controversy.
This is a reality that Mangini -- now an analyst for ESPN -- doesn't seem to relish. If anything, he has second thoughts about how his actions affected Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the man who gave him his big NFL break.
"It's one of those things where the end result wasn't the goal," Mangini said during a call-in spot on WEEI-AM in Boston. "I owe so much to Bill, I appreciate what he's done for me, and my intention was never to hurt him or the (Patriots') organization, the Kraft family. Yeah, there's a lot of regrets. I didn't want to hurt him or the Patriots by any stretch."
The story dates to 2007, when Mangini, then coach of the Jets, accused the Patriots of videotaping his team's sideline signals during a game between the AFC East rivals. The league investigated Mangini's claim, eventually leading to substantial penalties for New England ($250,000 fine; loss of a first-round draft pick) and Belichick ($500,000 fine, the maximum the league can give).
Mangini said his relationship with Belichick today is a "work in progress."
"I wasn't happy (with) the end result," Mangini said. "How it could have been different, how different decisions and events could have taken place, I'm not sure how it would have played out differently. I just didn't want it to play out the way it did."