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Jerod Mayo, the Krafts, luck, circumstance, opportunity

Saturday 1/13/24

Jerod Mayo has (already) been named the next head coach of the Patriots, which was mere formality as it turns out, since being the next head coach was written into his contract.

I find this a terrible way to go about things and I would be very surprised--not shocked, but the level just below that--if this works out at all, though these are two separate things in a way.

Mayo is thirty-seven. He's never been a head coach at any level of football. He's never been a coordinator. He's only been coaching at all for five years. After he retired--having had a decent career but as a guy who never seemed to make a big play--he did a stupid show with Tom E. Curran, someone I'd be hard-pressed to have less respect for. More on him soon.

Why was he handed this job? Why was there no search? Why would you not at least have gone through the process? You needed to lock up Mayo because you thought he was so in-demand that he'd be a flight risk? Then let other teams make that mistake.

Wedding yourself to this person, with no experience, to take over for Bill Belichick, and following a 4-13 season, with a roster with next to no talent--especially on offense, where there is none--seems to me like a recipe for failure and having to look for another coach in two or three years.

But as far as NFL head coaches go, I'm sure Mayo came cheap, and make no mistake about it: the Krafts are cheap asses. Why do you think Bob Kraft played up the whole Patriots Way nonsense? Because it meant players would come to play for New England for less money. He's cheap. He's always been cheap.

I could even see Mac Jones coming back, God help me. I could see Josh McDaniels coming back. I expect Bill O'Brien to be gone because I don't think Mayo likes him but Bill O'Brien should also be gone because he presided over the worst offense in the league and Bill O'Brien is nothing special, just a member of the club at this point who gets gigs for life.

Belichick screwed up again and again over the last...well, it's more than four years. Call it closer to eight. Especially over the last four years, though. But he was set up to fail this year by his owner, with that empowering of Mayo. You walk around the building and you see your ex-player who has it contractually stipulated that he'll be taking your job? How do you think that is going to go? How divisive is that?

These things are like ships with rats on board. And some rats scurry here, and some rats scurry there. They're looking after themselves. You pick a side. I'm sure there were people who picked the Mayo side. His contract lame-ducked Belichick. When you have rats going there, and rats going here, organizations, businesses, boards, whatever it is, falter.

Belichick acted like a pouty child, ramming Mac Jones down his owner's throat. Belichick never wanted Jones, and I'm going to be the last person to blame him for that. Kraft went around making jokes for everyone to hear, referring to Belichick, sarcastically, as a very smart man. Kraft is a child. I said he's not a bad guy, but I may have spoken too soon, because I bet he's a petty little bitch. Belichick is, too, but at least he was once good at something. Kraft isn't good at anything. Listen to him talk. You don't think, "Wow! He's smart!" You think he's your dumb, fuddy-duddy uncle walking over with yet another plate full of dessert items at a family gathering and you're in a corner with nowhere to go so you'll have to listen to him until someone comes to your rescue.

And Jonathan Kraft: This guy is a meddlesome problem. I hate this kind of person in theory: a lucky sperm. Did nothing in his own life. His father remains alive, overshadowing him, and denying him what I bet you he wants more than anything: To make his mark as owner of the team. Another guy who has achieved nothing on his own. Parcells hated him, and I have no doubt he was a mega-catty bitch, resenting both Belichick and, in a way, his old man.

As for Mayo and Belichick: There's a Macbeth/Duncan dynamic there. You heard these reports that Mayo carried himself like an entitled dick, and then a detail came out yesterday that he'd walk around with a baseball bat and swing it during coaches meetings. Oh. That sounds conducive to teamwork, large man swinging a fucking bat during the meetings. I'm sure there was no message there.

I heard an interview with Mayo yesterday in which he utilized that fine phrase "at the end of the day" no less than three times, so I thought this is going to be painful listening to him after the Patriots are croaked for the latest time.

I also think the Krafts want the cred that comes from being one of the good ones in terms of race nonsense. Look, Mayo could be a wunderkind of a coach, and the best person for the job. But did you really do what needed to be done to be as sure about that as possible? Obviously not.

He could also be the fall guy for what happens next, the Patriots' version of M.L. Carr. Trying to get high-level draft picks isn't the way to get good in the NFL. That's an NBA thing. Look at the drafts through the years. Look at the number one picks. How many are great? How many are future Hall of Famers? What was Mahomes? Ten?

I think Robert Kraft is obsessed with optics and things like the Hall of Fame, which he would "deserve" for exactly one reason: He hired Belichick. He didn't hire Parcells and he fucked up that situation. He brags about hiring Pete Carroll, but late 1990s Pete Carroll was neophyte Pete Carroll. He had to go to USC to become Hall of Famer Pete Carroll.

I think Kraft also has a Brady obsession and I can see him cursing Belichick every day of his life for driving away the fair-haired son, who I'm also convinced he loves more than his own son, because of what Brady got Robert Kraft. All of the optics. The fame. Before Brady and Belichick, all Kraft was known for was the ugly Parcells situation.

But I'm listening the other day to Kraft bragging about the three coaches pre-Mayo, when he had nothing to do with the hiring of one of them, the second guy was average, and then there's Belichick. Understand: There is a huge, huge, huge fluke and luck component to the Patriots' run. They don't get Brady, it doesn't happen. They didn't mean to get Brady. They didn't target Brady. They didn't see something amazing in Brady. He was there late, they took him, and then Brady did his thing, rising up through the ranks, taking over, and dominating, because Tom Brady was the best player in the history of the game and it's not close.

An opportunity was thus created. And Belichick, in this perfect situation, made the most of his opportunity with his skill set. This wouldn't have gone anywhere like this anywhere else. If Belichick took over the Giants they wouldn't have won six Super Bowls. No one would have known what he could be as a coach. He was that thing. He definitely was. But without a chance and favorable circumstances and the right people in place, no one would have ever known it. That is not the same as "He was nothing without Brady."

It's like I have an amazing story, right? And it could be the most loved thing ever. Millions and millions of people right now could love it more than anything else, and I mean real love, not this "I watch this thing on Netflix because that's just what everyone does" fake love. Be this big thing.

If it's just sitting here with me, and it doesn't get to be where many people can see it, then it's this thing that sits here with me. That doesn't change what it is. But it doesn't have the opportunity. If it gets that opportunity and is in a setting and with circumstances that are favorable to success, and it becomes this thing that fifty million people love, it didn't become that thing then. It's the opportunity.

Belichick got his. That involved a lot of luck. He had to resign from that Jets job, Kraft had to bite, Kraft had to roll with him after that opening 5-11 season, all of those teams had to pass on Brady, Bledsoe got hurt, there were veteran players on the team of real skill and a high-level of football smarts--people like Ty Law and Lawyer Malloy--who could run his schemes, and 2001 happened. Then they were off. You got more buy-in, more guys wanting to come to New England--Rodney Harrison, for example--and the thing snowballed because you had two people who were the best at what they do in a position favorable to success where they had huge, huge, huge say in how successful they were going to be with their talent and their work ethic, which were out there in the open and now free to do what they were able to do. Because, again, of situation, circumstance, and opportunity. Those three things--and luck--allowed talent to then be the decider of how far they'd go.


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