While New England was mired in the middle of the first major winter storm of the season, the real icy behavior was about 1,800 miles away.
After the Texans dominated the Patriots all night en route to a 28-22 victory, Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien had a blink-and-you'll-miss-it handshake (if you can call it that) at midfield.
Was the brief exchange because Belichick was annoyed at how his team had played? Or are there lingering bad feelings from last offseason, when the Texans tried to hire Nick Caserio, leading to formal tampering charges from the Patriots?
Nick Caserio 🤔 https://t.co/qqXU41FXYd— Damien Woody (@damienwoody) December 2, 2019
"I think something's going on. I mean, c'mon," said Ted Johnson on NBC Sports Boston's Postgame Live show. "Something's there because that's not a normal exchange right there if you actually respect a guy and you're friends with a guy, which I always assumed they were. I've always been led to believe that Billy O'Brien and Belichick are friendly with each other. But that to me right there, Belichick blew him off."
Belichick had said the Caserio situation was "in the past" when asked about it last week, but NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry referenced it when discussing the handshake,
"That was fast. We played the handshake twice and it took about the length of time as half of a normal handshake. I think it's probably a combination of things... there were tampering charges filed, this was a formal complaint on the Patriots' part. That is on record, so it wouldn't shock me if that had something to do with it."
But former Patriots quarterback Matt Cassel had a much simpler explanation when offering his thoughts on the handshake, especially considering the Patriots had just gotten shellacked in a 28-22 game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated.
"I don't think (Belichick) is a very good loser. He doesn't lose much, and when he does, you gives a little quick handshake and he's out," Cassel said. "But you know what? When he beats a lot of these former employees, he goes up, gives them a big hug, there's more love there. But when he loses, he's not a happy customer, that's just part of the deal."
Twitter reaction to the handshake covered both the sore loser and tampering aspects.
Good thing the Patriots don't lose much. They are awful at it.— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) December 2, 2019
Bill Belichick's handshake with Bill O'Brien tonight was unprofessional at best.
That was Mangini-esque. One of the big no-nos of the Belichick football syndicate is that when you leave Foxborough you don’t turn around and take from The Godfather. Bill O’Brien tried to take Nick Caserio to be Houston’s GM, twice. https://t.co/hnqFoHJvfv— Christopher Gasper (@cgasper) December 2, 2019
Thanks Easterby https://t.co/SWV9iDLl6b— Greg A. Bedard (@GregABedard) December 2, 2019
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.