New England Patriots name Jerod Mayo as head coach

The New England Patriots are hiring Jerod Mayo as head coach, the team announced on Friday, a day after Bill Belichick announced he was leaving.

The Patriots said that Mayo – the organization’s 15th in its history – has been hired and will be formally introduced at a press conference at noon ET on January 17.

Mayo is a former New England player and has been working as an assistant on the team’s defense since 2019.

Mayo played eight seasons for the Patriots as a linebacker, being voted to the Pro Bowl twice and winning the Super Bowl in 2015. He has coached the linebackers portion of the New England defense since 2019.

Former Patriots player Mike Vrabel – who was fired as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans earlier this week – had also been linked to the head coach opening in New England, but owner Robert Kraft has decided to stay in house and promote Mayo.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport citing unnamed sources and The Athletic citing unnamed league sources, Mayo’s contract as linebackers coach reportedly contained a head-coach succession clause that allowed the team to make the move quickly for him to ascend to the top job.

The decision to hire Mayo eradicates the team’s need to go through a lengthy hiring process for a new head coach, instead appointing the 37-year-old straight away.

Mayo during a Patriots preseason game against the then named Washington Football Team in 2021. - Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

Mayo becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL, surpassing the previous youngest, Sean McVay, who has held the mantle since he was hired by the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.

Mayo will be under immediate pressure to right the New England ship after a few underwhelming seasons for the Patriots organization.

They finished 4-13 in 2023, and in Belichick’s farewell press conference, Kraft expressed his displeasure at seeing his team consistently losing.

“Well, the last three years have been pretty tough, and I know for our dedicated fans and myself, and (in) life, I just learn that things happen,” Kraft said during a press conference on Thursday.

“Our family is the custodian of this asset: the New England Patriots. We know how important it is to the psyche of the community and what’s gone on here the last three, four years isn’t what we want. We have a responsibility to do what we can to fix it to the best of our ability.”

Mayo has big shoes to fill to replace his former head coach Belichick.

The 71-year-old created one of the NFL’s greatest dynasties during his time in New England, winning six Super Bowl titles during his 24 seasons with the team.

With the hiring of Mayo, the number of NFL head coaching openings is now at seven.

CNN’s Homero De la Fuente contributed to this report.

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