Once nicknamed the "Man Genius" by fans, Eric Mangini was unceremoniously dumped as the New York Jets' head coach after the team's late-season collapse in 2008. Following a brief stint at the Cleveland Browns, these days he's an analyst with ESPN.
Mangini's coaching career started on the very bottom: At 23, he became a ball boy for the Cleveland Browns during training camp and then worked as an unpaid intern in the Browns PR department, where he was noticed by Cleveland coach Bill Belichick. Belichick gave Mangini a shot as a staff assistant and Mangini worked his way up to Belichick's defensive backs coach in New England, when the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four years, and later became the Pats' defensive coordinator. In 2006 Mangini left to coach the Jets; he got the job a few days shy of his 35th birthday, making him the youngest coach in the NFL. In his first year as Jets coach, Mangini led the team to a surprising playoff berth, becoming an instant fan favorite. He received the most rarified honor available to a New Jerseyan—a cameo appearance on The Sopranos—and was immediately dubbed "Man Genius" by appreciative Jets fans. But despite his early success, the Jets' abysmal record in 2007 and late-season meltdown in 2008 led tempestuous owner Woody Johnson to fire Mangini just days after the end of the '08 season. After an abysmal few years with the Cleveland Browns, Mangini joined the ESPN team in 2011.
Mangini's former boss Bill Belichick caused a minor scandal when he apparently offered his former protégé a limp handshake after a game in 2006; fans had accused Mangini of betraying Belichick by taking a job in the same division as Belichick's Patriots. The rivalry came to a head in the first game of the 2007 season, when Mangini alerted NFL officials to the fact that a member of Belichick's staff was illegally videotaping the Jets' defensive signals from the sidelines. Mangini was reportedly familiar with the trick from his years as a Patriots assistant, and the league's punishment for the videotaping infraction cost Belichick $500,000 and the Pats a high draft pick. [Image via Getty]