For the first time since 1999, someone other than Bill Belichick is the head coach of the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are hiring Jerod Mayo as their next head coach, just a day after an emotional parting of ways with Belichick following a historic 24-season run.
Robert Kraft’s franchise has operated a bit differently than most others for the last quarter-century, and Mayo’s hiring represented a continuation of that pattern. The Patriots opted against a traditional coaching search, turning immediately to a coach who has long had close ties to the organization.
Here’s what you need to know about Mayo’s background, including his NFL playing career and college stats.
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Who is Jerod Mayo?
Mayo became the NFL’s youngest head coach when he was hired by the Patriots. At 37, he’s a month younger than Rams coach Sean McVay, and he is also the first Black head coach in Patriots history.
Mayo has a lengthy history with the Patriots organization, both as a player and a head coach. He had an eight-year career with the team as a linebacker and joined New England’s defensive coaching staff in 2019.
According to ESPN, the Patriots have had Mayo in mind as Belichick’s likely successor for some time. New England took the rare step of formally announcing its intention to keep Mayo on the staff when he drew interest for head coaching and defensive coordinator opportunities elsewhere last offseason, which signaled to many that he had a strong chance to eventually replace the legendary coach.
Belichick’s relationship with Mayo was “more distant” in 2023 than it once was, ESPN reported, hinting that Belichick understood Mayo was likely being brought along as his successor in what made for a bit of an awkward dynamic.
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Jerod Mayo coaching timeline
2019-23: Inside linebacker coach (Patriots)
Mayo retired from his playing career after the 2015 season and joined Belichick’s staff as the Patriots’ inside linebackers coach in 2019 at age 33.
While it might seem unusual for a position coach to make the jump right to head coach, Mayo’s role was more sophisticated than it seems in New England. He, Belichick, and Belichick’s son, Steve, have split defensive play-calling duties for much of the last five seasons, after Brian Flores left to become the Dolphins’ head coach in 2019.
That’s one reason why defensive coordinator opportunities elsewhere didn’t always appeal to Mayo, along with the chance to get the top job in Foxborough.
2024: Head coach (Patriots)
The respect Mayo earned on Belichick’s staff resulted in the opportunity of a lifetime to coach an NFL franchise that has won six Super Bowls this century. After a 4-13 season, however, Mayo has plenty of work ahead of him to right the ship.
The Patriots are set to turn to a more traditional structure in the post-Belichick era, hiring a general manager to oversee the roster and work hand-in-hand with Mayo. As a defensive coach, Mayo’s offensive coordinator hire will also be critical, assuming Bill O’Brien isn’t retained.
Jerod Mayo NFL playing career
Mayo spent eight seasons in the NFL as a linebacker, all with the Patriots. He was drafted 10th overall out of Tennessee in 2008 and immediately stepped into a starting role on New England’s defense, starting all 16 games as a rookie. He was named the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Mayo continued on as a starter through 2015, though he missed a majority of the 2013 and 2014 seasons before seeing his role scaled back a bit in his final NFL season. Mayo earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2010, leading the league with 174 tackles, and he was a Pro-Bowler for the second time in 2012.
The Patriots reached Super Bowl 46 with Mayo as an anchor of the defense, coming up short against the Giants. Mayo won his first championship three years later when the Patriots prevailed in Super Bowl 49, though he missed the game due to injury.
Mayo appeared in 103 games over eight seasons, recording 802 tackles, three interceptions, 30 tackles for loss and eight forced fumbles. Mayo is the Patriots’ fourth-leading tackler in franchise history despite his relatively short career, behind only Tedy Bruschi, Devin McCourty and Vincent Brown.
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Jerod Mayo college stats
Mayo spent his collegiate career at Tennessee.
Mayo was a two-year starter at Tennessee, emerging as a force on the Volunteers’ defense with 12.5 tackles for loss and five sacks along with 83 total tackles as a redshirt sophomore in 2006. He recorded a whopping 140 tackles as a redshirt junior in 2007, along with 8.5 tackles for loss and a pick-six, before declaring for the NFL Draft.
Mayo earned All-SEC honors in 2007, and he was Belichick’s final top-10 draft pick. The Patriots were able to add Mayo after a 16-0 season because they owned the 49ers’ first-round pick (No. 7 overall), which was then used to trade down to No. 10.