0106mangini_Pats_sports.jpgIt's the dawn of a new era as the Jets are expected to announce the hiring of New England defensive coordinator Eric Mangini as the 15th head coach in franchise history, ESPN.com first reported last night. The first three things that standout about Mangini are: his age, (now the youngest coach in the NFL, turning 35 on Thursday), his prior tenure with the Jets (1997-99 as a defensive assistant under Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells) and his being a protege of Belichick, the Pats coach who actually helmed the Jets for a single day in 1999 and is thought to be among the game's all-time greatest defensive minds.

The only one that anyone should care about is the last one, because age is overrated when career coaches start very young (Mangini has already spent 11 seasons in the NFL). The Post's Steve Serby says he was the only way to go.

After three Super Bowl wins in four years, Belichick is probably still the best-regarded coach in the game and a friend of Jon Bon Jovi (Belichick's name appears in the "Bounce" liner notes, along with a message from Bon Jovi: "The song `Bounce' is dedicated to you, my friend."). As an aside here, how many people know anyone named Eric older than 35? It just doesn't seem common. Mangini is a Hartford native, a Wesleyan University grad and is married with a son. The NY Post is among outlets reporting Mangini will receive between $2 million and $2.5 million over four or five years. The actual terms should be leaked before noon today.

The Patriots Insider website may have said it best:
Mangini is walking into a quagmire of talent, cap issues, injury concerns and a front office not well known for having their house in order. Former Jets' head coach Herm Edwards left New York to take the Kansas City Chiefs' opening, in part because of the mess he knew he could leave behind.

AP Photo: Charles Krupa