Earlier this month, the New England Patriots gathered at owner Robert Kraft's house to celebrate the Super Bowl LIII victory over the Los Angeles Rams and hand out a new, shiny championship ring. All seemed right in the world, at least in their eyes, until another team basically spoiled the party.
Whether it's a coincidence or not, the Houston Texans, the winners of the AFC South last season, fired general manager Brian Gaine a day after the ceremony and are now looking to hire Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio to fill the vacant GM position. The timing reportedly "set off some alarm bells" because nobody in New England is happy about it.
The Patriots, the kings of Spygate and Deflategate, have filed tampering charges against the Texans, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, and now the NFL is looking into it.
As if six Super Bowl rings since the turn of the century isn't good enough, New England is making sure that if you are stealing a hot commodity, you have to play nice. That's certainly fair, but it's also the pot calling the kettle black in the most ironic way possible.
If tampering did occur, all signs point to recently hired Texans Executive Vice President of Team Development Jack Easterby, who was the Patriots Development Director last season. Additionally, Houston head coach Bill O'Brien was with the Patriots for five seasons.
To make matters stickier, Easterby and Caserio have the same agent, according to ESPN.
Here's how the league defines tampering:
"The term tampering, as used within the National Football League, refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL."
If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck, but the NFL will investigate to make sure no rules were broken.
According to NFL.com, Houston could surrender a draft pick to the Patriots in order to hire new general manager Nick Caserio.
The Patriots file tampering charges after an offseason Super Bowl ring ceremony? Yeah, good luck getting anything by the champs.
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.