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Meet the New England Patriots Head Coach: Jerod Mayo

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New England Patriots inside linebacker coach Jerod Mayo on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

The New England Patriots wasted no time in naming Bill Belichick’s successor on the sideline. Just one day after announcing they were parting ways with Belichick, the Patriots have chosen Jerod Mayo to be the team’s next head coach. He will also become the first African-American head coach in the franchise’s 65-year history.

Playing Career

Jerod Mayo played his college ball for the Tennessee Volunteers. The linebacker dominated in his junior season, earning first team All-SEC honors. He finished the season with 140 tackles and scored on a 34-yard interception return. The New England Patriots selected Mayo with the tenth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Mayo is one of two top ten picks for the Patriots during the Belichick Era in New England, with the other being Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Richard Seymour.

Mayo made an immediate impact in the NFL. He started all 16 games as a rookie, and earned NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. By his second season, Mayo was already named a team captain. Despite missing three games with an MCL injury, Mayo recorded another season with over 100 tackles. Mayo absolutely dominated in his third season in New England. He led the league in total tackles (174) and solo tackles (113). Both totals remain franchise records in New England. The 2010 performance earned Mayo his first trip to the Pro Bowl and he was also named first team All-Pro.

The 2011 season would be Mayo’s lone opportunity to play in a Super Bowl. Mayo recorded 11 tackles in the loss to the New York Giants. Although the Patriots would reach the Super Bowl again during Mayo’s career (and winning) he was inactive due to injury.

He returned to the Pro Bowl in 2012 after recorded 147 tackles (second highest in franchise history). Sadly, it would be Jerod Mayo’s final season at full health in the NFL. From 2013-to-2015 Mayo’s seasons were ended early due to a torn pectoral muscle, a torn patellar tendon, and a shoulder injury respectively. Due to the succession of injuries, Mayo officially retired from the NFL on Feb. 16, 2016.

Coaching Career

After a brief time away from football, Mayo was hired on Mar. 27, 2019 to be inside linebackers coach for the New England Patriots. Based on his reputation as both a leader and a student of the game, this did not come as a surprise to many that knew Jerod Mayo.

The 2019 season had no official defensive coordinator in New England. Brian Flores left in February to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Greg Schiano was hired to be the new defensive coordinator, but unexpectedly resigned. This left head coach Bill Belichick as the de facto defensive coordinator that season. However, in future years the role and responsibilities of Jerod Mayo would be greatly increased in Foxboro.

There was a split of duties on the Patriots defense, with Jerod Mayo running the defensive meetings, but Steve Belichick calling the defensive plays during games. This worked well for the Patriots, who had an effective season in 2023 on defense, despite multiple key injuries. The 4-13 final record was certainly not indicative of what the defense was doing. Jerod Mayo won the Bill Belichick Award as the New England Patriots 2023 Coach of the Year.

Jerod Mayo played his entire NFL career with the New England Patriots, and has coached his entire career with the New England Patriots. So, there is certainly a level of familiarity with the Patriots braintrust, and a feeling of keeping the head coach position “in the family” so to speak.

Choosing a Staff

Now that Jerod Mayo is locked in as the 2024 head coach of the New England Patriots, there will need to be a filling out of his staff. Steve Belichick would be an obvious candidate to become defensive coordinator, but he could be following his father to his next stop instead. Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is under contract for 2024, but will he be back? And how much say will Mayo have over the staffing decisions? Who are the candidates to take over football operations with a head coach already in place?

These questions will need to be answered in the coming weeks, perhaps at Mayo’s introductory press conference (scheduled for next week). But for now, the New England Patriots welcome Jerod Mayo as the team’s new head coach, and the man given the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of Bill Belichick.