Nick Mangold: Effort and Consistency
A number of years ago I was at the Jets facility at Florham Park, NJ attending one of their open practices. When the Jets team broke into position play, I gravitated to watch the offensive linemen. I normally do this because of my experience playing the position and because this group was closest to the fence I was at, giving me a clear visual of the drills. Being no more than 15 feet away, and watching these huge behemoths with a combination of speed and bulk, I was thankful my career as an offensive lineman was short. In one of the drills, one player who was in the center of everyone went down. It was none-other than #74 Nick Mangold. Play stopped and he shook it off to continue the drill. A few plays later the same thing happened as Mangold went down and this time the trainers came over. For the second time in a matter of minutes he shook it off and the drill continued. I realized at that time that it would take a lot to get a player like Nick Mangold off the field whether it was a Jets game or a Jets practice.
Nick Mangold checks a lot of the boxes for me when I rate my New York Jets players. Most important is staying on the field. In his first five years as a Jet, he played and started in all 80 games. In the next five years he played and started 76 games out of 80. Woody Allen had a famous quote that said “90% of life is showing up.” Nick Mangold always showed up in his New York Jets career. His reliability was unmatched as far as staying on the field and producing quality play.
Nick Mangold was born on January 13, 1984 in Centerville Ohio (the same town as former Jet Mike Nugent) which is located between Cincinnati and Columbus. He went to Archbishop Alter High School in Kettering Ohio, where he was a three letter athlete. In addition to playing offense and defense in football, he wrestled and threw the shot put in track and field. Interestingly he was ignored by the major recruiting services that rank high school athletes as three, four or five star recruits yet he garnered interest from some of the major college football teams. He got offers from Ohio State University, Notre Dame and Clemson and eventually decided to stay near his home and committed to Ohio State. In his freshman year, he appeared in eight games as the Buckeyes went on a 14-0 run to win the national championship with a 31-24 victory over the Miami Hurricanes. He was fortunate to see some playing time in that game.
It was in his sophomore year that he became the full time center after starter Alex Stepanovich got injured. Offensive line coach Jim Bollman was so impressed with the way he played, that he compared Mangold to former Buckeye All American and Rimington Trophy winner LeCharles Bentley. He was named captain and was voted as a first-team All-American in his senior year in 2005 as the Buckeyes beat Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl 34-20.
In the 2006 Senior Bowl, Mangold had a great week of practice and a great game. Getting closer to the 2006 NFL draft, he was considered the best center available overtaking Outland and Rimington Trophy winner Greg Eslinger from the University of Minnesota.
The Jets selected Mangold with the 29th overall pick. After taking D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the 4th overall pick. It was not that common for an NFL team to draft two offensive linemen in the first round. As a Jets fan, I found this to be general manger Mike Tannenbuam’s finest moment recognizing his team’s weakness and solidifying the offensive line for years. In fact, right after the Jets picked him, Tannenbuam got a phone call from Baltimore Ravens executive Ozzie Newsome telling him he was the “luckiest man in the world” nabbing Mangold when he did!
Mangold had a very good rookie season, allowing only a 1/2 sack and, committing only 3 penalties. In addition, he made all the line calls and keep in mind, he was following another great center in Kevin Mawae. That year, 2006, the Jets finished 10-6 and second in the AFC East and lost to the AFC East rival Patriots 37-16 in the Wild Card Playoffs.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2009. Interestingly, he was part of an offensive line that started the same players for 32 games. The longest streak at the time for offensive lines and very hard to fathom today (2022). By comparison, 10 games into the 2022 season, the Jets have had 5 different players start at right tackle.
Mangold was quickly developing into one of the best run blocking linemen in the NFL early in his career and was rewarded for his hard work. On August 24, 2010 he signed a seven-year $55 million contract that included a $22.5 million dollar signing bonus and making him the highest paid center in the NFL. He was an All-Pro first team selection in 2009 and 2010 and he was a second team All-Pro in 2011. He was also part of the last Jets teams to make the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 losing both years in the Conference Championship game.
Nick Mangold went on to have probably the best career any New York Jets center ever had. In addition to making the three All-Pro teams, he had made the the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team in 2006 and made the NFL Pro-Bowl seven times. His legacy with the Jets was recognized on September 25, 2022 when he was inducted into the New York Jets “Ring of Honor.”
As Jets fans, we are passionate about our team and certain players always have a place in our hearts. Nick Mangold is one of those players as his 11-year career blossomed with the Jets. His popularity has gotten so big that this Ohio Buckeye native continues to live in this area hanging his hat in Madison New Jersey. Give us 22 players with the heart and drive of Nick Mangold and the Jets would make the playoffs every year!
Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets football fan since 1964. Ray Clifford another lifelong fan contributed to this article. Their blog and Podcast are both at: www.JetsRewind.com
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