One day after moving on from Bill Belichick, who had led the team for 24 seasons and won six Super Bowls, the New England Patriots quickly hired his replacement: Jerod Mayo, who will become the youngest head coach in the NFL.
The 37-year-old joined Belichick’s staff in 2019 and has been the team’s linebackers coach. Mayo played linebacker for the Patriots from 2008 to 2015 after being the team’s first-round pick (10th overall) in 2008 out of Tennessee. Mayo was the 2008 Defensive Rookie of the Year, a two-time Pro Bowler, an All-Pro in 2010, and a Super Bowl champion in 2014-15. He was also named a team captain for seven consecutive seasons (2009-15).
A new era in New England.
Congratulations, Head Coach Jerod Mayo! pic.twitter.com/Aj87oTu2S2
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 12, 2024
In five seasons coaching the linebackers, Mayo helped the New England defense finish in the top 10 in total defense four times. The unit finished the 2019-20 season No. 1 in total defense (275.9 yards allowed per game) and this past season ranked seventh (301.6 per game).
Mayo’s name has often been brought up for head-coaching vacancies, and he interviewed with four other teams the past few years, according to CBS Sports. However, Mayo reportedly stopped taking head-coaching interviews in 2023, and re-signed with the Patriots as an assistant to likely take over as head coach one day.
Last month during a press conference, Mayo was asked if it was accurate to believe he had been tabbed to take over whenever Belichick stepped aside. Mayo did not want to cause a distraction with the season still ongoing, and said any future jobs were out of his control. But he did acknowledge that he wanted to be a head coach at some point, that he loves New England, and that he was leaving it up to God.
“One day I want to be a head coach,” Mayo said. “Where that is, I don’t know. But at the same time, I would say I have a lot of love for New England. I have a lot of love for the fans, the people around the building. And you know, my family, they love it here as well. So that would be great if I could stay here and continue to progress throughout my career, but we’ll see.
“Honestly, there’s really no anxiety to it. You know, I’m not trying to get too spiritual, but wherever God wants to take me, I’ll be ready to go.”
Mayo has leaned on his foundation of faith for years. In 2012, prior to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis (which the Patriots would lose to the N.Y. Giants, 21-17), Sports Spectrum asked Mayo about his faith.
“It’s all about faith, family and football, in that particular order,” he said. “My grandfather was a pastor, so I grew up in the church. Family is huge, so like I said, my mother, everyone goes to church and they’ve always been my rock.”
He was then asked if he sometimes made it to the team’s chapel services.
“Sometimes? Every week, every week,” he said. “Even after we played in the AFC Championship Game, we played at 3 o’clock, I made it to church that night.”
While conducting the interview, Mayo was wearing a necklace with the name “Jesus” in the shape of a fish.
The Patriots plan to formally introduce Mayo as the franchise’s 15th head coach with a press conference on Wednesday.
While New England was enjoying some of the finest years in franchise history when Mayo was on the team — it made the playoffs every year of his career except his rookie season, despite going 11-5 — the Patriots have missed the postseason three of the past four seasons. The four wins they collected in 2023-24 were the franchise’s fewest since 1992.
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