According to former New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and current head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Rex Ryan made a fatal mistake by giving copies of his playbook to Belichick's confidant, Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
"It didn't shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway," Pettine told mmqb.com. "He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don't you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it's going to end up in New England.' "
With the dark cloud of Spygate already hovering over New England's three Super Bowl titles, this latest allegation brings into question the credibility and legitimacy of Belichick and Tom Brady's dominance over the division.
The coach-quarterback duo is regarded as one of the best the NFL has ever showcased, but with the videotaping scandal exposed by the Jets back in 2007 along with this most recent "playbook snooping" it's hard to imagine that fans and the media could turn a blind eye to such sneaky tactics.
While attending his former teammate Wes Welker's wedding, Brady reportedly boasted to Jets' outside linebacker Chris Smith that the Patriots may or may not have obtained a few of New York's defensive playbooks.
With his new team in Cleveland, Pettine has kept his playbook thin and out of the hands of potential competitors. Perhaps Ryan should take a page out of his former protégé's book.
"I don't put a lot of graduate-level information in it," Pettine said. "We know in places like New England, it's only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook."