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How a succession plan fast-tracked Jerod Mayo's hiring as new head coach of New England Patriots

Robert Kraft speaks about Bill Belichick's departure from the Patriots
Robert Kraft speaks about Bill Belichick's departure from the Patriots 24:11

FOXBORO -- The Patriots wasted no time in hiring Jerod Mayo as Bill Belichick's successor at head coach. Having a succession plan built into Mayo's previous contract allowed the team to move so fast. 

NFL Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Patriots wouldn't need to go through an extensive hiring process with Mayo. New England could simply hire him as head coach after the team "established a firm, contractual succession plan in a prior contract."

Mayo, 37, had been an assistant under Belichick since 2019. He declined to interview for head coaching jobs elsewhere last year as the Patriots ended up signing him to an extension, which the New England announced was to "keep him with the team long-term." 

With that succession plan in place, the Patriots didn't have to satisfy the NFL's Rooney Rule, which states that teams are required to interview two minority candidates for a coaching vacancy. As Rapoport pointed out in a follow-up post, similar situations have played out in the past, most notably when Jim Caldwell took over for Tony Dungy as head coach of the Colts in 2009.

Mayo has long been considered the heir apparent to Belichick, who drafted the former linebacker in 2008 and was the only coach he played for during his eight-year NFL career. On Thursday, after announcing a mutual parting of ways with Belichick, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the team would act "very quickly" to find a new head coach.

"We're looking for someone who can help us get back to the playoffs and win," said Kraft.

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