Print and Go Back ESPN.com: AFC East [Print without images]

Thursday, October 28, 2010
Super Bowl goal an easy pitch for Mangold


New York Jets center Nick Mangold laughed when he heard ESPN analyst Jon Gruden had slapped the dynamic New York Giants receiving corps with the nickname JetBlue during Monday night's telecast.

For one, Mangold is a spokesman for a JetBlue airline promotion. For another, he knows Giants fans have an aversion to being called JetAnything.

Mangold
Mangold
"I'm guessing Gruden got caught up in the moment," Mangold said. "It's a slip of the tongue for the Giants fans because I'm sure they want nothing to be associated with what we're doing. That is pretty funny."

The nickname has caught on quickly, whether the Giants like it or not. Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall, when asked Wednesday whether Cincinnati Bengals receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco were the NFL's best receiving tandem, replied "The JetBlue guys in New York, those guys are coming along."

But the promotion Mangold is pushing is tied to the Jets -- not the Giants -- winning the Super Bowl. If they do, travelers could have airfares refunded for December flights booked with a MasterCard from Nov. 1 through 3.

Mangold isn't your typical corporate pitchman. He's a great player and a fan favorite, but he doesn't have Mark Sanchez's dashing looks or the polished delivery of Jason Taylor.

Mangold is proud to be a grunt in the trenches. As meticulous as he is with his game preparation, he won't win any beauty contests. For instance, he refuses to wear gloves and seems quite pleased with his gnarled fingers.

"I'm still a big idiot," Mangold said. "My fingers, my hands get beat up bad. I got some good scabs going right now.

"But there's something about the feel of the ball that I love. I don't know if it's going to change for me."

You never got that kind of insight from Billy Mays or Wilford Brimley.

We won't know for at least a couple months if the Jets will come through on those free flights for holiday travelers, but they're working on it. The Jets are 5-1 and atop the AFC East coming out of their bye week. They'll play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

"Things are going well, but if we get to the end of the season and we're not on top, right now isn't going to matter," Mangold said. "Guys took the opportunity with the bye week to rest up, get some family time in. But everybody was itching to get back. We want to continue what we started and not rest on the accomplishments of what we've achieved already."