In a move long anticipated by dedicated 49er watchers, the team last week hired Eric Mangini. The blogosphere immediately exploded with speculation as to the exact nature of Mr. Mangini's duties. Some said he posed a threat to the Niners' existing offensive/defensive coordinators. Others suspected he represented a nefarious plot by his ex-boss, Bill Belichick, to pass along top-secret 49er plays via video. Still others insisted that the Prospectors, beneath their new stadium, would construct a dungeon where the mad genius, "Mangenius," could work his magic with potions, spells, and discarded confetti.

 

However, sifting through the admittedly sketchy details, it now appears the red-and-gold hired the dapper Mangini for another reason altogether. The 49ers, it seems, have hired Eric Mangini to promote, and to model, Coach Jim Harbaugh's line of clothing, just announced this last April 1st. In retrospect, this makes perfect sense. Mangini is pretty, photogenic, and he plays well with others. Also, during his recent stint with ESPN, he learned to pose for cameras, and to wear copious makeup while doing so.  

In today's high-turnover high-fashion world, clothing designs become obsolete faster than celebrity marriages, and Harbaugh's initial line, based on his sideline attire, rapidly lost traction once fans had purchased one of everything. After all, how many pairs of white socks can one person use? Mangini's debonair image will serve to spice up the basic offerings of Harbaugh Haute Couture. For instance, instead of the baseball cap favored by Coach Jim, Coach Eric will wear a thinking-beanie with a red-and-gold pinwheel affixed to the crown. The Eric Line will also feature fur-lined undergarments (I detest the term "jockstrap" – so ineluctably gauche.), just like the original 49ers wore during those long winters cooped up in miners' camps.  

Supposedly, negotiations among Harbaugh, Mangini, and the team continue with regard to whom, exactly, will get what out of this joint venture, but the start-up had to do something, as even the sales in Cupertino and San Rafael declined precipitously in recent weeks. Now, given Mangini's enduring popularity in the Northeast, New York, and the entire state of Ohio, Harbaugh Haute Couture will soon open new stores on the Cuyahoga River, downtown Boston, and Fifth Avenue.  

Maybe this opportunity to display some beefcake will help Eric to shed the dread nickname "Mangenius," a title he neither sought nor cultivated, and a sobriquet he has come to consistently regret, as he still receives overwhelming amounts of letters from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, fast-food vendors, and aging spies. When asked to comment on his former protégé's hunk-factor, Coach Bill Belichick hunkered down in his hoody and almost audibly grunted, surely a robust endorsement. Be that as it may, now that Eric has swapped brains for brawn, expect to see the new magnetic Mangini soon, refurbished and rebranded, perhaps attired in top hat, white tie, and tails, all embossed with the natty red-and-gold 49ers logo.