Football

Clearly, Mayo is no grumpy, old coach

Jerod Mayo has been promoted. 

He was an assistant coach for the Patriots. Now he is the head coach.

He was a good player. He seems bright and personable. He says he will lean heavily on his co-workers in the Patriots football operation as he digests his new responsibilities.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft officially announced Mayo as Bill Belichick’s replacement on Wednesday. Kraft did not say that Mayo is the anti-Belichick; he didn’t need to.

From the moment Kraft and Belichick stood at the lectern last week to announce their “parting of the ways,” it was fairly certain that Belichick’s replacement would be warmer and fuzzier.

Callus and cross can only carry a man so far in today’s NFL

Belichick drafted Tom Brady. He surrounded Brady with enough talent to appear in nine Super Bowls and to win six of them.

He was cold. He responded to reporters’ questions with guttural snarls. 

That was fine when he had Brady leading the Patriots to the playoffs year after year.

It got old when Brady bailed on him, went to Tampa Bay, won another championship, and sauntered into the sunset.

From there, the Patriots’ descent gained speed. This season it began circling the drain.

Belichick’s prickly public persona got old. 

Apparently, so did his prickly private persona.

Even before parting ways with his grumpy head coach, Kraft knew he had to line up someone to replace him.

After an exhaustive search of former Patriots linebackers who served on the coaching staff, were downright affable and took a year off to “get away from Bill,” Kraft, a modern-day Columbus, discovered Mayo.

And we learned in his very first press briefing as head coach of the New England Patriots that his administration would be different.

Mayo was chatty.

He smiled. 

He was respectful. 

He spoke highly of Kraft, referring to the boss as his “young thunder cat.”

Kraft grinned. 

Good times for them both.

Cringes from the neutral observers.

We learned that Mayo didn’t like the finger-pointing that marred what was already a miserable season. The defense performed pretty well and pointed its collective finger at the offense, which disintegrated into a stumbling mess.

Mac Jones, the quarterback who began the season as the starter and ended it in solitary confinement, was free to look on with the assembled reporters and Patriots staff.

A few more questions, a few more genial responses, and it was clear that Mayo is not a crotchety old know-it-all.

Time will tell if his young thunder cat’s confidence is warranted.