By now, you have likely heard that Rolling Stone will be featuring an article in which one Matt Taibbi takes on Browns head coach Eric Mangini as well as the team which he manages every Sunday afternoon.
The part where a music-based magazine is piling on our woeful season is only a sliver of the equation. The rest of it is comprised of the comparison in which Mangini is simply a personification of Augustus Gloop – the heavy-set lad who finds himself in the 1971 version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate river only, to be defended by his mother as if it were the fault of Sir Wonka.
While definitely focusing primarily on the physical attributes of Mangini (and Gloop alike), Taibbi’s analysis of what Mangini has done with the franchise did not go unnoticed.
I always wondered what happened to Augustus Gloop, the fat little boy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…a boy with fat bulging from every fold, with two greedy eyes peering out of his doughball of a head–(but he) somehow ended up as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, perhaps the most [expletive] franchise in all of sports right now.” [...]
Mangini’s performance with the Browns is “one of the truly thrilling sports disaster stories ever” [...]
Mangini spent his time “frowning on the sidelines like a man with the winner of the annual Kansas great Pumpkin Weigh-Off up his [expletive], frantically changing his mind about which of his two psychologically battered quarterbacks to throw into the breach next.”
Well then. Taibbi has spent much of his time with Rolling Stonewriting about issues outside of the realm of music that claims to feature reporting as well as cheap shots and broadsides. His report on the death of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin was titled “The Death of a Drunk.” Personally, I was a fan of the Iraqi-based article titled “Hussein in the Membrane.” But point is, his word-choice is not the surprising part. The fact that the Browns’ pitiful play (as well as decision-making) from the top down have made it to this level of coverage, however, is.
Sixty-four and Counting’s Vince Grzegorek dove a little deeper into the Mangini-Gloop comparison.
The simplest and most obvious place to begin is with the personality characteristics the two share. Augustus Gloop is the visual definition of gluttony — he eats while on-screen in the original movie than Brad Pitt does in Ocean’s Eleven. Presented with the Golden Ticket and a tour of Wonka’s factory Gloop is unable to control himself, lunging into the chocolate river despite being told not to.
Eric Mangini’s power machinations in Cleveland, and New York, are well-known. From the petty fines, the water bottle incidents, getting rid of talented difference makers whose personalities didn’t mesh with his, to essentially running the organization, stuffing in-name-only GM George Kokinis in a conference room somewhere, and filling up the roster with “his guys,” nevermind whether they can actually play our not — he’s rubbed enough players the wrong way and often enough that he has built an inescapable reputation.
Grzegorek also chose to research what other authors have said about Gloop, completing full circle with his ties to Mangini and his brief tenure with the Cleveland Browns. If you have the time, it is definitely worth the read – if only for the photoshops alone.
The fact that Mangini has been dubbed the worst coaching hire in modern history by Sports Illustrated and has been cast as a “boy with fat bulging” while drinking a chocolate river by Rolling Stone within the first six weeks of football may only be the tip of the iceberg. But could it also be a quick “what have you done for me lately” type grade?
It is widely expected that Randy Lerner (obviously pegged as Mrs. Gloop) will give his new hire at least three years to show some sort of progress that this situation will be turned around. If he somehow manages to turn this water into wine, all of the early publications will be eating crow. But given that said water is being piped in directly from the Cuyahoga River – where all our fish have AIDS – these authors may just be choosing an easy target while most definitely getting their point across.
If he can’t swim, there’s no better time to learn…