The Patriots had decided long before last week that Jerod Mayo would succeed Bill Belichick as the team's head coach, putting that plan into Mayo's contract.
New England hadn't needed a new head coach for over two decades, with owner Robert Kraft hiring Bill Belichick in 2000. So why not open things up to get more perspectives on the team through a wide-ranging search? For Kraft, it goes to trusting his instincts.
"It’s a good question," Kraft said in his joint press conference with Mayo when asked why he didn't go through a full search. "You know, in all our companies, early on when we started doing well, people tried to get us to go public and bring in partners, we could make all kinds of money and everything. And I made a decision, I always wanted to stay private and didn’t want partners who would weigh in because our family — it’s a family group of business.
"I like to think strategically, what’s best for the long-term, not [wanting] to do things that are going to require quick decisions. And we’re willing to do things that are unorthodox and it’s worked out pretty well for us over the last 50 years."
Kraft added that the only time he didn't trust his instincts was when he needed a new head coach after the 1996 season and didn't hire Belichick to be the head coach then.
"[B]ecause of his loyalty to a man we had such difficulty with, who did a great job for us, but he took another job when we were going to the Super Bowl — I just couldn’t bring someone in because trust is so important," Kraft said. "But as I watched what happened, when he was with his next team, I realized I made a mistake, I should’ve gone with my instincts in ’96 and hired Bill. And that worked out petty well.
"Well, I have the same feeling now, having watched Jerod for 16 years in a lot of different situations."
Kraft continued by saying that sometimes in his businesses, "We think a little differently than our competitors and we try to do what’s right for our system."
That meant crafting a succession plan to turn the team over to Mayo.
"I think we’ve got someone very special who understands how to manage young people today," Kraft said. "I mean, the world is different than 20 years ago — even 10 years ago. And in all our businesses, we try to create a culture that people want to stay with and be there long-term. And I think that Jerod has the makeup and the chemistry — and it's genuine, what he has is genuine. Just think about how he got elected captain in his second year with us when we had tremendous veterans. And I think it went for seven years, he was captain in a tremendous period. And then he went out on his own in business to get a change.
"It’s just, I think we’re ready to kick butt."