The Jets have announced today that Eric Mangini will not return as head coach.
Woody Johnson, the team's owner and chief executive officer, and Mike Tannenbaum, executive vice president/general manager, made the announcement at a news conference this morning at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J.
"This is about the most difficult thing you can do as franchise owner, and that's making a change at head coach," Johnson said. "Eric's been our coach for three years. He's done some amazing things. Nobody's worked harder. He knows his X's and O's. He's a good teacher.
"But Mike and I felt it was time to make a change. It's not a decision we reached yesterday or 10 minutes ago. This was a decision running through the season."
The team will begin an immediate, aggressive search for its 17th head coach and its 15th full-time field leader.
"The process begins today," Tannenbaum said. "We're not going to comment on anybody specifically today, but process will be thorough. We want to get the right fit for the organization."
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after the Jets completed a 9-7 season with a 24-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins at the Meadowlands and finished out of the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
When Johnson and Tannenbaum hired Mangini, the former Jets assistant and New England defensive coordinator and secondary coach, two days before his 35th birthday on Jan. 17, 2006, he became the 15th-youngest head coach in NFL history.
At that time, Johnson also promoted Tannenbaum from assistant general manager to GM, and Tannenbaum and Mangini had a relationship dating to the Cleveland Browns in the mid-Nineties.
"I respect Eric, I admire him," Tannenbaum said. "He's loyal, he's smart. I think the world of him. But at the end of day, when I sat down with Woody, we had to make the right decision, not the easy one. But I am human and it hurt on a personal standpoint. But it's what's best for the New York Jets. We've made that decision and now we're going to move forward."
In his first year at the helm, Mangini directed the Jets to a 10-6 record and a wild-card berth in the 2006 playoffs. Last season the Jets went 4-12. He finishes his tenure as head coach with a 23-26 record including the playoffs.
Both executives addressed questions on Brett Favre, saying they'd like the future Hall of Fame quarterback to return for his second season with the Jets.
"I hope so," Johnson said about a Favre return. "I think it's too early. I think you've got to deactivate for a while. ... I just think he adds a lot to the team that's positive."
"We as an organization want Brett back," Tannenbaum said. "Where we're focused right now is on the start of a thorough search for a new coach."