Nobody ever said that Eric Mangini was a bread and butter football coach. Not only are his motivational techniques cut from the same cloth as his former mentor turned divisional rival, New England’s Bill Belichick, his choice of drive-time radio is a bit out of whack with the New York majority.
Rather than listen to WFAN, the longtime venting voice of New York fans, Mangini said in an interview with the ASSOCIATED PRESS that he’s a big fan of NPR (not a huge shock — he’s a Wesleyan grad whose made a Sesame Street appearance in the NEW YORK TIMES photo above, after all) and, brace yourself, “a little rap.”
“I don’t have that active of a social life,” Mangini said. “It’s pretty much here to home. In terms of radio or any of that stuff, the stations I listen to aren’t talk radio. Sometimes it’s NPR or a little rap on the way home. It’s not heavy sports talk.”
Add to that Mangini’s past ceremonies of 1) burying a game ball, 2) having his team visit a military base, 3) bringing in boxing analyst Teddy Atlas and 4) making the Jets watch hours of film of nature programs on penguins after he learned that they had nicknamed him “The Pengiun” behind his back, and NPR doesn’t seem like such a stretch. But Ludacris and Chamillionaire? Really?
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised. This is a man who admittedly was more dedicated to getting his children to a performance by Australian kiddie boppers “The Wiggles” than he was in finishing interviews with the media during his first preseason.
(The penguin at work.)
Mangini often comes across as a strategic mind who’d rather scheme up a quirky solution or game-winning formation (remember the no-down lineman defense when he was a defensive coordinator in New England?) than commit to smashmouth football. He’s the coach who can’t have enough receivers who used to play quarterback on the roster, and who will be furious at Brett Favre for throwing into double coverage, not for taking a chance.
Still, it’s hard to tell whether pronouncing that he partakes in homebound hip hop hoorays is a legitimate expression of musical taste or just a premeditated ploy to make him a little more intriguing to the media and general public, a sort of insurance policy to guard against those who are beginning to criticize his quirky act for wearing thin.
Well, if it was a ploy, consider it a successful one. We’re sold. Now we just want to know what he’ll tell his sons when they start rocking 50 and doo-rags on the way home from third grade.