The New York Post spoke with Eric Mangini — which is to say, the spiritually broken, Eric Mangini-shaped, hollowed-out shell of a man that walks the Earth in disgrace after stabbing Bill Belichick in the back — and the result is a lengthy piece about his life of shame and regret in the nine years since he set off Spygate:
Bill Belichick read at Eric and Julie Mangini’s wedding. Mangini’s son Luke’s middle name is William, named after Belichick.
Mangini followed Belichick from Cleveland, where he was a ball boy, to the Jets to the Patriots. The two have not had a real conversation in 10 years.
Leaving the Patriots for the Jets head-coaching job against Belichick’s wishes damaged the relationship. Spygate ended it.
“Spygate is a big regret,” Mangini said. “It wasn’t supposed to go down the way it went down. … It wasn’t worth it to me personally. It wasn’t worth it to the relationship.”
The relationship died. Belichick’s legacy was tainted. Mangini was seen as a traitor.
“I cared about him,” Mangini said. “I didn’t want to hurt him. I didn’t want to hurt the Patriots. They were a huge part of my life, too, and the Kraft family. The Krafts were always great to me. It wasn’t like I was thinking I really want to get these guys.”
This is one of those instructive, moral tales that teach us there truly is nothing new under the sun. That every aspect of the human condition has been covered in some way by the great artists of the past because people have not changed at all down through the ages.
Eric Mangini’s story was perfectly captured in Dante’s 14th century poem “Inferno,” in which the protagonists travel into Hell, which is comprised of nine concentric circles. The worse your sins, the deeper into the circles you are sent. They range from misdemeanor crimes in the outermost circles like “Limbo” for virtuous pagans who did not accept Christ and “Lust” for the unrepentant horny, to the felonies in the inner circles, such as “Violence” in the seventh circle and “Fraud” in the eighth.
And the ninth? The very innermost circle? That is reserved for “Treachery.” It is a lake of ice called Cocytus frozen into which are all the betrayers. The mutineers. Those who turned on the ones who trusted them. The greatest gift God gives is love. And there is no greater sin than to commit treason upon that love.
Bill Belichick loved Eric Mangini. He gave him his career, did a reading at his wedding and gave his name to his son. And in return, he was betrayed. And now Mangina is frozen in his mentor’s own personal Coctyus, under the ice for all eternity to contemplate the egregiousness of his sins.
The damage to Belichick’s reputation caused by Mangini will never be repaired, no matter how many more Super Bowls he wins. But, as the classics taught us a long time ago, the damage to the one doing the back stabbing is far, far worse.