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Well this is awkward


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This article is great, especially the first half. Didn't know our head coach had personality.




FOXBORO - Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini will probably never gather their families for a lazy, sun-splashed, pre-training camp week on Nantucket.


But as if to illustrate that the relationship between the two NFL coaches is no longer a sensitive, hands-off topic, consider the impromptu exchange that took place yesterday between Mangini and Patriots [team stats] quarterback Tom Brady [stats].


Brady was passing through the small room in which Mangini, whose Cleveland Browns host the Patriots this Sunday, was speaking via conference call. Brady, hearing Mangini’s voice, leaned into the speaker phone and said, “This is Tom Brady.”


Mangini didn’t hear Brady and kept talking. Brady tried again, this time saying, “Hey, what’s your plan to stop Tom Brady this week?”


Mangini, catching on now, replied, “He is such a god in every area that I don’t think it’s humanly possible. I mean, you talk about football player, movie star . . .”


Brady then said, “You wouldn’t say that if we were just sitting here talking,” followed by, “I’ll see you, E. Take care, babe.”


After Brady moved on, Mangini, laughing a little, said, “That’s great. Hopefully that won’t be the closest we get to him.”


But while the exchange shows that Brady’s ambassadorial skills are on a par with his ability to march the Patriots into the end zone, something else happened this week that illustrates how much has changed since Mangini liberated himself from Belichick’s coaching staff four seasons ago to coach the New York Jets [team stats].


It was the Minnesota Vikings’ decision to jettison Randy Moss. When the Vikings placed Moss on waivers, this after the wideout’s bizarre press conference following Minnesota’s 28-18 loss to the Patriots Sunday, it invited a follow-up examination of Belichick’s decision last month to trade Moss.


Think about it. The Patriots are undefeated since trading Moss. They have banked the Vikings’ third-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft. And just yesterday, embattled Vikings coach Brad Childress called the trade “a poor decision.”


A poor decision for the Vikings. Well, of course. From the Pats’ perspective, it shows Belichick to have been remarkably prescient in his understanding of the makeup of his team and its needs, on and off the field.


To those who see Belichick as a “genius,” what with the three Super Bowl championships and his .707 winning percentage in 10-plus seasons as head coach of the Patriots, no further examples are needed.


But there will always be a lobby out there whose platform holds that Belichick has done it all with mirrors, magic potions and strategically-placed imaging equipment.


Yet to not be hugely impressed with what Belichick has done with the Patriots this season is to be living with your yap firmly planted in the sand. Though it can be rightly said that the 2010 Patriots lack the talent of the Super Bowl-winning teams, it only proves how much Belichick has accomplished this season.


Following the Pats’ 38-34 loss to Indianapolis in the 2006 AFC title game, Belichick knew he had to improve his team’s receiving game. Acquiring Moss was the right move at the right time. Last month, in trading Moss, same thing: Right move, right time.


And now, three years removed from Camera-gate, this latest Belichick-Mangini meeting lacks subplot. Belichick has re-established his reputation, while Mangini is 7-16 overall in two-plus seasons as head coach of the Browns. Four years ago, the frost between the two men was visible from a mile away. Postgame handshakes were news.

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