(Photo Courtesy of Sports Illustrated) “New Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo.”
The less said about the Patriots 2023-24 season, the better. With the team finishing 4-13 this year, this marks the third time in the last four years that the Patriots have missed the playoffs. Due to this repeated failure, change has begun to sweep through the organization, as long-time head coach Bill Belichick has parted with the franchise after 24 years.
Belichick leaves behind an undisputed legacy with the Patriots: Six Super Bowl victories, 17 division titles and 30 playoff victories in 24 years. Many believed Belichick would retire as a Patriot, presumably after he broke the record for the most wins as a head coach in NFL history.
However, that just wasn’t the case. What led to this decision was years of awful offensive production and poor personnel decisions. The team had one of the worst offenses in the NFL the past two seasons coupled with poor draft picks and free agency decisions, which led to Belichick’s departure.
Even with the decision, there appears to be no grudges on Belichick’s end. “I will always be a Patriot.” said Belichick, “I look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we’re going to move on.”
Belichick will now have to find a new team to chase the coaching wins record with. Currently, he has had two interviews with the Atlanta Falcons, but has yet to be hired.
As for the Patriots, their decision on the next head coach was swift. Just one day after the departure of Belichick, the Patriots hired Jerod Mayo as the team’s new head coach. This marks the team’s 15th head coach in franchise history.
Mayo, now the youngest head coach in the NFL at 37 years old, was previously drafted by the Patriots in the first round all the way back in 2008. He spent eight seasons with the team as a linebacker, where he won Defensive Rookie of the Year, received an All-Pro first team nomination, was selected to two Pro Bowls and helped the team win Super Bowl XLIX (49).
After announcing his retirement in 2016, Mayo stayed away from football for a few years, but would eventually come back as a coach. In 2019, he was brought on to be the Patriot’s linebacker coach. Fast forward five years and the former player is now the head coach of the Patriots.
Mayo will be busy right away, as the team looks to rebuild and bring in new high-end talent.
“We’re bringing in talent, 1,000 percent,” Mayo said, “We have a lot of cap space and cash.”
Indeed, they do, as the Patriots currently have $65 million in salary cap space, which is the fourth most in the NFL. Furthermore, at their disposal is the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Many believe the team will take a Quarterback to build around, but nothing has been confirmed nor denied. Nothing will be set in stone until the pick is turned in on April 25.
More change is also on the way, as the Patriots will look to hire a new general manager to oversee the team and personnel decisions in the wake of Belichick’s departure. In addition to this, the team will also be looking for a new offensive coordinator as Bill O’Brien has left the team to coach at Ohio State University.
This offseason will play a crucial part in the franchise’s future. The team has pushed out the old and brought in the new. Can Jerod Mayo be the next great NFL head coach? Can the Patriots return to their winning ways of old? One thing for sure, this offseason will be worth watching.