Eric Mangini hasn't gone out of his way to make many friends in the sports media. He was never forthcoming with information about the Jets, be it injuries to players or gameplans or his feud with Bill Belichick, nor has he given the expansive interviews or stream of conciousness press conferences that were the specialty of his predeccesor Herman Edwards. That said, he always showed a keen sense of humor about his taciturn approach to the press and he was definitely in on the joke.
So he probably gets how special an honor it is that he was asked to guest star on the penultimate episode of the greatest television show we've ever had the pleasure of watching. With Tony Soprano's world crashing down around him he still found time to go over to pay his respects to the Mangenius while enjoying a nosh at Nuovo Vesuvio with Carmela last night. And it actually made sense in the context of the scene. Why wouldn't Mangini, an Italian who clearly enjoys a good plate of ziti with gravy on a Sunday night, sample the offerings of talented Artie Bucco? Of the many, many things The Sopranos did better than other television programs was the celebrity cameo. Christopher decking Lauren Bacall and stalking Ben Kingsley, Nancy Sinatra serenading Phil Leonardo/Leotardo and Marty Scorsese entering a party in Manhattan all pale in comparison to the king of New Jersey paying his respects to the Jets coach, though.
He had a better week than most of the other fat guys on the show as well but we're willing to bet he still tucked himself in with a machine gun. After all, you never know when Kevan Barlow might be coming around to get some revenge.
(Thanks to Deadspin for the picture)