Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 5/2/12
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When Eric Mangini exposed the Patriots for videotaping opponents’ signals at the start of the 2007 season, he changed the culture of the NFL. Stealing signals — whether by use of camera or other means — is something that is believed to have been done by almost all teams at one point. Now, teams have to be extremely careful. By bringing the Spygate scandal to light, Mangini also changed the way people view the Patriots’ accomplishments as an organization. For that, the former Jets coach says he is regretful.

“If there is a decision I could take back it’s easily that decision,” Mangini said on NFL Live Tuesday according to Pro Football Talk. “Never in a million years would I have wanted it to go this way. It’s disappointing whenever it comes up.”

Mangini was an assistant on the Patriots’ three Super Bowl-winning teams, so when people discredit what the Patriots accomplished because of Spygate they’re also downplaying some of his achievements.

“Never in a million years did I expect it to play out like this,” he continued. “This is one of those situations where I didn’t want them to do the things they were doing. I didn’t think it was any kind of significant advantage, but I wasn’t going to give them the convenience of doing it in our stadium, and I wanted to shut it down. But there was no intent to get the league involved. There was no intent to have the landslide that it has become.

“To have guys like Tedy (Bruschi) have to defend the championships that we earned in New England, and to have anything taken away from the Kraft family, from coach Belichick, and the players and coaches that have meant so much to me, never in a million years did I think it was going to translate into what it was going to translate into. And it doesn’t tarnish what we achieved there. It doesn’t tarnish what they achieved after the fact. I think when you look at the history of success that they had after that incident, it’s pretty obvious that it didn’t play any type of significant role in the victories we had or the success that we had.”

It should be noted that Bruschi — also an ESPN analyst — was seated directly across from Mangini as he expressed what seemed like genuine regret over the way the situation has played out. On Tuesday, John Harbaugh called the Patriots’ accomplishments “stained” because of cheating, which led to Bruschi slamming him on television and Harbaugh apologizing almost immediately. Based on what he said, it’s quite obvious Mangini sides with Bruschi on this one.

“That’s what’s so disappointing to me,” Mangini said. “The fact that Tedy has to sit here and talk about that because of a decision that I made, it’s disappointing.”

Obviously the fact that they are now coworkers at ESPN comes into play, but this is by far the most candid Mangini has been about Spygate since the story first broke more than four years ago. We have seen extensive coverage of “the handshakes” and witnessed Mangini struggle to find a job because of it, but never has he spoken so highly of the organization that many feel he stepped all over. That just goes to show you how much can change in a few years time.

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