Robert Kraft details when he decided Jerod Mayo would succeed Bill Belichick

New England Patriots Introduce Jerod Mayo as Head Coach
New England Patriots Introduce Jerod Mayo as Head Coach / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The unexpected decision to move on from Bill Belichick after a quarter century dominated headlines across the NFL, but who Robert Kraft would choose to replace the greatest head coach of all time became an even hotter topic almost immediately.

With the departure of Tom Brady in 2020, the New England Patriots found themselves grappling with significant challenges. This signaled the need for a comprehensive rebuild, not just in terms of the roster, but also in the coaching staff.

It was hard to imagine, after seeing predominantly the same faces on the sidelines for over two decades, a group who helped bring unfathomable success to an otherwise underachieving franchise. So, who would ultimately be the next man up felt like quite a tall task for Kraft to determine, and not the shoes most anyone would want to step into.

There was a belief that the organization would take their time with the interview process and evaluate their options, even considering a possible trade involving then-Titas head coach Mike Vrabel. But Kraft decided to move far quicker than anticipated, announcing he would succeed Belichick just one day after announcing he was leaving the team.

It was a highly criticized move from the start, not just because of Mayo's inexperience as a coach or the apparent rush to fill the vacancy. But mainly because Kraft chose to forgo any interview process with outside candidates , a decision that many deemed to be irresponsible given the recent failures of the team during the last four years.

Besides the typical show of support for former players and tenured staff, Kraft hadn't shared too many details regarding his quick hiring of Mayo, leaving it open for interpretation, until his appearance on "The Shop" this past week when he finally revealed when he knew it was in Mayo's future to replace Belichick in New England.

Robert Kraft details when he decided Jerod Mayo would succeed Bill Belichick

Since Kraft seems to be on a media kick recently, his latest appearance on another show wasn't surprising. What was, however, was his honesty with some of his responses, one of which surrounded his decision to hire Mayo.

He recalled one of his past annual trips to Israel when Mayo was able to attend. He shared there were nearly two dozen players who also went, but how Mayo spoke and worked with them is what sparked his decision he would be the Patriots' next head coach.

“There were about 15 or 18 players and I watched how Jerod worked with them and I said ‘that’s my next head coach. '"

That answer would seem sufficient for most, but Kraft wanted to elaborate further about why Mayo was the right guy for the job.

“In the last decade, the players coming into the locker room are different than when you (Adams) came in. How you relate to them, how you connect, we’re the ultimate team sport. You can get paid and be number one, but in the end if you want to win you’re putting team first. And you need guys around you who do that. And this guy did it. And I think he can relate to young people today.”

This is a point he's spoken about previously, and given the ever-changing atmosphere in NFL locker rooms, having a former player as the head coach, especially one who played for the team he is now coaching, is a unique opportunity that Kraft didn't want to pass up.

Players had already spoken highly of Mayo during his time as a linebackers coach, and some pending free agents even said they'd want to play for him wherever he ended up. Fortunately, he's remaining in Foxboro and will build a new era for the Patriots, hopefully including winning.

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