Sportsfly.com’s Blog

Various Sports Mutterings from Sportsfly.com!

Dead Fish Handshakes and New England Heartbreaks

Better luck in '09 Bill, Love Eric.

Better luck in '09 Bill, Love Eric.

After two years of bitter resentment and an epic rivalry of bad blood, Eric Mangini found a way to keep hated rivals, the New England Patriots, out of the playoffs. In doing so he lost to the Miami Dolphins…and consequently his own job. The former 1-15 Dolphins were able to extend their record to 11-5 and inch above New England to take the AFC East title.

This isn’t another one of StatDrgon’s conspiracy theories. I’m not proposing that the Jets “threw” the game to keep New England out of the playoffs, but I’d like to remark on the incredible coincidence that the future of the Patriots’ season fell to the hands of the New York Jets and Eric Mangini. Essentially, all that New England needed on Sunday was a victory from the Jets. Unfortunately (for New England) the Jets were not able to provide a win for their northeast rivals.

The name Eric Mangini makes Patriots fans shutter. To understand fully, one must be familiar with the history of ill will between the two organizations.

After 5 seasons of coaching with Belichick and the Patriots (2000-2005), Mangini left to take head-coaching position with the Jets. The terms and way that Mangini left sparked a rivalry between the two coaches. Over the next year New England filed tampering charges against Mangini for soliciting (then) current players and assistant coaches to abandon their commitment to the Pats organization and join him in New York. The feud came to a culmination in 2007 when, amidst of a perfect season, the Patriots were accused of videotaping other teams defensive signals. New England was reprimanded $750,000 in fines and the forfeiture of a 1st round draft selection for the following year. The incident, known infamously as ‘Spygate,’ sparked the criticism and condemnation of the Patriots organization and brought up questions of illegitimacy regarding three previous Championship seasons. Eric Mangini was the advocate and spokesman for accusations against Belichick in Spygate 2007. The actions taken by Eric Mangini, at this time, exacerbated the discord between himself and the New England Patriots.

When Tom Brady (QB- New England) went down for the season this year, Mangini must have felt like a kid on Christmas day as the window to the AFC East Title was opened. The Jets posted some significant victories throughout the first half of the season, beating the Patriots in overtime as well as handing the (pre)undefeated Titans a first loss. However, the season fell apart and all hopes of a playoff run were demolished as the Jets lost 4 out of the 5 final season games.

By Sunday the Jets were mathematically eliminated from the post season, however, the game against Miami was significant for Mangini in order to prove worth to the Jets organization. He was not able to do so as the Jets faltered 17-24.

This morning the New York Jets announced that they would be letting Coach Mangini go.

Had Mangini nothing to ‘play for’ yesterday, I would have been sold that losing was a tactic to keep the Pats out of the playoffs and prove dominance over hated rival Belichick.

As rivalry proves to be the driving force for creating exciting drama in sports, I can only hope that Eric Mangini finds a new job where he can effectively crawl under Belichick’s skin again, and vice versa. I would be beside myself with grief if I were not able to witness dead fish handshakes for years to come.

And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Fantasy Football, News, NFL, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment