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Totally Not Fake News: The Burning Question Of Our Time

Brought to you by the completely reliable and totally accurate Totally Not Fake News Poll.

The Face of the Texans, now and forever...or so it seems.
houstontexans.com

HOUSTON, TX – For a team that does not have playoff games to prepare for, the Houston Texans still find themselves the center of attention. With the coming of the offseason, the Texans, deciding that the 2020-2021 playoffs were not in their best interests, worked to fill two jobs: General Manager and Head Coach. Last week, the Texans filled the GM position with one Nick Caserio. However, everything associated with said hire came under withering scrutiny.

The main point of contention centers on the role of (former) Interim GM and Executive Vice President Jack Easterby. Easterby, a pastor by trade, since his arrival in 2019 has gone from an advisory role, working behind the scenes…to still working behind the scenes, but also becoming a major force within the Texans organization. In some respects, a figure like Easterby has not been seen in the NFL before.

There are numerous figures that the media will use as comparisons for Easterby. While we at Totally Not Fake News could slip into that trap of just randomly saying that Easterby is like “X”, we figure that you, our valued readers, don’t need to be pandered to or told what to think. To that end, we will do what the rest of the so-called media won’t do and ask the tough questions.

The question at hand: Who is the most appropriate figure that compares to one Mr. Jack Easterby? There are some strong candidates.

[Editor’s Note: This is the obligatory spoiler alert note for certain characters/stories. However, by this point, if you haven’t read/heard about some of these folks, that is on you. Still, to avoid any potential litigation, we offer this preface].

Peytr Baelish (a/k/a Littlefinger)

Our first contestant...
inews.co.uk

This name has come up multiple times when discussing Easterby. In particular, the SI article (that for some reason you can’t seem to find anywhere on the Texans’ website) made extensive use of that comparison. For those who are not familiar, Littlefinger is a character from Game of Thrones, noted for his ability to ingratiate himself with those in power, only to just as quickly betray them for his own ends. This is not too unfamiliar to the actions of Easterby, except there is not near as much violence (that we know about) and sex (that we definitely don’t know and don’t want to know about).

However, Littlefinger is not a religious figure, so there is a degree of divergence from Easterby. Also, the final fate of Littlefinger will depend on whether or not you follow the TV series or the books. If you just watched the show (all seven seasons…six of them were good), Littlefinger is no more (a satisfying coup de grace from Sansa Stark). If you follow the books, Littlefinger is still alive, with his final fate TBD (much like our very own Jack Easterby).

Final Totally Not Fake News Ranking:

Just check out the list of people that Littlefinger betrayed to their deaths/ruins. Easterby would have some work to get there, but he is off to a good start. Hopkins, BO’B, trashing the recommendations of the Korn Ferry Firm who Cal paid six figures for advice. If you add the fact that a lot of the coaches won’t return in 2021 due to Easterby’s work (Crennel, Weaver for certain), it just adds to the tab. There’s merit in this comparison, but perhaps not a complete match.

Grima Wormtongue:

Next up...
wikipedia.org

Almost as common as Littlefinger, you find just as many references to Wormtongue. An older literary figure from the classic Lord of the Rings saga, Wormtongue is the advisor to King Theoden of Rohan, who finds itself under siege from the forces of Saurman. A son of Rohan, Wormtongue has risen to a position of power. Theoden is in a weakened state, adding to the power of Wormtongue’s advice and sway over the king. This is not that dissimilar to the current Easterby/McNair relationship.

Yet there is a major difference between Wormtongue and Easterby, and it doesn’t have to do with fashion sense. Wormtongue, for all of his smooth talking and his power within the center of Rohan, is not acting out of complete self-interest. He is but a minion for a greater power (Saurman). While it is kind of fun to think that Easterby is part of an eleventy degree game of chess with Bill Belichick and the Texans, that Easterby left the Patriots after Robert Kraft faced human trafficking charges indicate that he is not a welcome figure within the Patriots structure. Unless he were to drive Deshaun Watson to the Patriots. Oh, and Wormtongue, in both the book and the extended DVD version, does not survive to the end. Easterby, as of this writing, still has a longer life expectancy.

Final Totally Not Fake News Ranking:

While Wormtongue’s smooth talking fits in-line with Easterby’s actions, and Cal McNair is proving to be as weak as a weakened Theoden, this is not quite the ideal match. Unless new information comes out that the Patriots actually sent Easterby to sabotage the Texans comes out, this rating will not go any higher.

Cardinal Richelieu:

Portrait Of Cardinal Richelieu
Going Old School...
Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images

We now move into the realm of an actual historical figure. The son of a minor French noble, the man known as the “Red Eminence” rose to become perhaps the most powerful non-King/Emperor/President in French history. While Richelieu is also a figure in fictional literature (see the Three Musketeers), the real Richelieu had more than enough in his bio to make him quite the powerful behind-the-scenes figure. Once he got into the good graces of the mother of Louis XIII, Richelieu assured himself a place of prominence within the French court. He eventually gained the favor of Louis XIII (when he came of age to rule). Richelieu took the lead on French foreign policy, guiding the kingdom through everything from the nightmarish 30 Years War to French settlements within the New World. Richelieu developed an extensive network of spies and informants, and many a challenger to Red Eminence found him or herself regulated to exile, prison, or burned at the stake. Yet for all of Richelieu’s power and influence, the real character never made a move to usurp the ultimate seat of power (either French King or Pope). As best we can tell, Easterby is not yet making a move to become the owner of all things associated with the Texans.

Of course, not all religious figures are created equal. Richelieu was a servant of the Catholic Church (the Protestant Huguenots being one of his many targets), yet Richelieu aligned France against the Catholic Habsburgs, displaying a degree of flexibility that Easterby could only dream of. At this point, Easterby is a Protestant preacher, but one could see him play the role of a good Catholic if he needed to in order to keep his job.

Final Totally Not Fake News Ranking:

Richelieu is perhaps the most aspirational figure of those mentioned for Easterby. How Richelieu managed to maintain power and keep his rivals down must create so much envy in Easterby. The takedown of DeAndre Hopkins and BO’B are small potatoes to what Richelieu did to his rivals, who were established advisors to the King and powerful noblewomen who sought influence in the French court. Both could run afoul of powerful figures, but the example of how Richelieu juggled the ire of kings and Popes to remain in power…one can only imagine Easterby’s reaction.

Rasputin:

Rasputin (1871-1916) russian adventurer healer of czarevitch , protege of the czarina, he was murdered by prince Ioussoupov here in 1908 colorized document
If you just take away the facial hair...
Photo by Apic/Getty Images

Another real-life figure, although there is enough to create a great fictional villain for a miniseries, Rasputin emerged from obscure origins in Russia, finding his faith in the Russian Orthodox Church. He was a petty criminal from Siberia, but once he converted to Orthodox Christianity, he became a traveling pilgrim who gained a following. The exact date of his first meeting with the Tsar and his family is in dispute. However, Rasputin was able to convey to the royal family that he knew how to cure Alexei of his hemophilia. This led to his rise within the court of the Tsar, and as a result, increased power and influence. Rasputin made tons of enemies, but the weak-minded Nicholas II and his wife saw Rasputin as a valued figure within the court, public opinion be damned. This did not serve them well with the coming of World War I. The ill-guided decisions of the Tsar and accusations of Rasputin’s influence did little to help the Empire. By late 1916, Rasputin was seen as a threat to Russia and was eventually assassinated, only after he was poisoned, shot, and dumped into the frozen Neva River in St. Petersburg (and you thought Easterby was hard to get rid of).

A major point is that Rasputin, while making himself into a powerful figure in the Tsarist court, did not have ambitions that would see him overthrow the Tsar. He was content to remain a powerful, behind-the-scenes presence. Easterby is cut from that same mold. At least no one as tried to assassinate Easterby, although the Andre Johnson tweet could serve as a social media assassination. Much like many did not cry when the dead body of Rasputin was pulled from the Nevka, few would mourn the exit of Easterby from the Texans.

Final Totally Not Fake News Ranking:

While comparing the decline of a successful NFL team to the fall of a full-up empire is a bit of an overdramatic metaphor, the Rasputin angle works better than expected. Yes, the differences between Orthodox and Protestant Christianity are well noted, but still, a religious mystic works his way into a power structure and manages to entrench himself and while all else is falling apart, his position is secure because he has the ear of a weak ruler…just change the languages, and you have a possible match. Of course, the reports of Rasputin’s sexual escapades may be a bridge too far for Easterby connections (no, we really, really don’t want to know what Easterby is doing behind closed doors). Still, with the decline of the once powerful Texans, with their resources and Deshaun Watson, you could think that it is a parallel to what happened when Rasputin came into the Russian court and sank the Tsarist regime.

Jafar:

Obligatory Disney figure to appease Disney
wikipedia.org

The Grand Vizier Jafar is a man who is playing a relatively weak king (sound familiar?) as he attempts to fulfill his own dreams of power. He is arrogant, but plays the game of subservience to the king as means to an end. His mastery of dark magic helps him to maintain power, and if not for the actions of a quick-witted street urchin, Jafar might have overthrown the king and been in power himself.

Yet I would think that Easterby might be offended by the comparisons between himself and Jafar. After all, Jafar is not exactly a Christian, and that might be a bit out of the Easterby mold. Also, I have not seen any sort of snake-headed staff from Easterby; if he did have it, it might explain some of the moves the Texans have made since he entered NRG Park…I mean, why would you offer Eric Murray the contract you did if BO’B and Cal were not dazzled by a snake-headed staff?

Final Totally Not Fake News Ranking:

There is potential for the Easterby/Jafar comparisons, but while Easterby is out for power, he is not out for absolute power a la Jafar. Also, I can’t see Easterby falling for the trick that would have him trapped in a lamp for eternity. Perhaps fired, but not trapped.

There you have it, the best candidates for comparisons for Easterby. While the editorial staff at Totally Not Fake News holds that Easterby is most like Richilieu, we do not want to suffocate the will of the masses. Therefore, we shall engage in our own polling to best determine, from this day forward, who is the best comparison to Jack Easterby. We will report back with results once we tally the votes.

Poll

Which Character Does Jack Easterby Most Resemble?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    Littlefinger.
    (28 votes)
  • 16%
    Wormtongue.
    (27 votes)
  • 10%
    Richelieu.
    (17 votes)
  • 28%
    Rasputin.
    (47 votes)
  • 4%
    Jafar.
    (8 votes)
  • 22%
    None of the Above. Easterby is His Own Level of Vileness and How Dare You Besmirch the Good Name of All of the Other Figures.
    (36 votes)
163 votes total Vote Now