Report: Bill Belichick, Eric Mangini almost had fistfight over Spygate
The relationship between Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini has never been the same since Mangini lit the fuse that resulted in Spygate, but tempers have cooled considerably in the past decade-plus. At one point, the topic was such a sensitive one that the two coaches nearly came to blows.
In his upcoming Patriots tell-all book “It’s Better to Be Feared,” Seth Wickersham wrote about the time Belichick and Mangini almost got into a physical altercation at the NFL league meetings the year after the Spygate scandal erupted.
As it was told to Wickersham, Belichick bumped into Mangini’s wife Julie after a dinner for head coaches at the league meetings. Mrs. Mangini tried to say hello to Belichick, but the Patriots coach “blew her off.” When Julie told Eric what happened, he angrily confronted Belichick.
“After a dinner for head coaches, Julie Mangini, wife of Eric, bumped into Belichick and said hi, trying to ease tension after the post-Spygate fallout,” Wickersham wrote. “Belichick blew her off, and when she told Eric what had happened, he charged across the room and needed to be held back by other coaches from swinging at Belichick. ‘Hey Bill, f— you!’ Mangini yelled.”
Mangini was Belichick’s defensive coordinator until he left in 2006 to take the head coaching job with the New York Jets. A year later, Mangini informed the NFL that the Patriots had a cameraperson recording New York’s sideline when the two teams met during the regular season. That is what led to Spygate and all that went with it.
Mangini has since expressed regret over how everything was handled.