This morning, Jerod Mayo was named the 15th coach Head Coach for the New England Patriots following Bill Belichick’s 24-year dynasty with the team. For New England fans, this news may not be a huge surprise; however, to the common fan, they may not have even known much, if anything, about the former linebackers coach.
A new era in New England.
Congratulations, Head Coach Jerod Mayo! pic.twitter.com/Aj87oTu2S2
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 12, 2024
For those who may wonder who Jerod Mayo is, where he came from, and why he was hired, here is a basic overview.
Early Life and Playing Career
Jerod Mayo was born on February 23, 1986, in Hampton, Virginia. His football journey began at an early age, and he excelled as a standout player in high school, earning a scholarship to the University of Tennessee. Mayo’s collegiate career showcased his exceptional skills, setting the stage for his entry into the NFL.
As a linebacker for the Vols, Mayo totaled 236 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and a pick-six. As a senior, he was honored as being an SEC First-Team selection as well as a Rivals.com 2nd Team Linebacker.
In 2008, Jerod Mayo was drafted by the New England Patriots as the 10th overall pick in the first round. His impact was immediate, earning the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in his first season. Mayo’s prowess as a linebacker and his leadership on the field became synonymous with the Patriots’ defense during his eight-year playing career.
Mayo’s contributions to the game earned him numerous accolades, including Pro Bowl selections and All-Pro honors. His ability to read plays, make crucial tackles, and serve as a defensive anchor solidified his legacy as one of the league’s premier linebackers.
In total, during his eight years as a player, Mayo combined for 803 tackles, 11 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and three interceptions. He was a Pro Bowler in 2008 and 2010.
Jerod Mayo Had a Career Outside of Football After His Retirement
One common question that comes up with outsiders is what did Mayo do between 2016 and 2019? He actually worked in the corporate world. Mayo retired from football in 2015 and took a break from the sport. He then joined the corporate world and worked in financial services for Optum, a health company.
Transition to Coaching
Following his retirement from playing in 2016, and his short time in the business world, Mayo seamlessly transitioned into coaching. His deep understanding of the game and natural leadership qualities led him to become the New England Patriots’ inside linebackers coach in 2019.
During his time with the linebackers, he helped build one of the top three defenses in the NFL. His success did not go unnoticed and he has been listed as a job candidate the past two seasons for multiple teams.
Connection With Kraft May Have Been the Difference
Jerod Mayo may only have four years of experience as a coach at the NFL level. Additionally, he’s never been the defensive coordinator or head coach for anyone. Yet he was the one chosen to follow Belichick’s tenure. This move actually makes a ton of sense.
Kraft has known Jerod Mayo for fifteen years. He knows that he is the kind of coach he wants to lead the team. Additionally, there is not a ton of pressure on Mayo. As crazy as it sounds, Mayo is going to be the Head Coach, but because he is inexperienced in the role, it’s hard to imagine that he is actually going to be calling all the shots, at least initially.
Kraft probably laid this out very clearly. While Mayo will ultimately have the final say in decisions, such as to go for it on 4th down, kick on an onside kick, or other game-changing situations, most of what will be done on the field will be delegated to assistant coaches, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. This philosophy is brilliant because everyone gets responsibility shared, as opposed to one coach feeling the weight of the franchise on his shoulders following the legacy Belichick left behind.
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