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Jerod Mayo Interviews: The Family

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Being a professional athlete is more than just a job- it's a lifestyle. Patriots All Pro linebacker Jerod Mayo sheds some light on the life off of the field.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl is here, so that means the Verizon #WhosGonnaWin program is back. Fans are encouraged to join the #WhosGonnaWin conversation on Twitter and Facebook to predict who they think will win each playoff game leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. Verizon will turn the fans' predictions for the matchup into a spectacular nightly light show projected on the Collier Center building at  Verizon Super Bowl Central in downtown Phoenix taking place Wednesday, January 28, through Saturday, January 31 at 7 p.m. MST. Fans will be able to stream the light show in NFL Mobile and on WhosGonnaWin.com. Plus, for the first time, fans can stream every NFL playoff game, including Super Bowl XLIX, live on NFL Mobile.

This is one of the best stories of the Patriots season. It might have flown under your radar, or was completely off of your map. But if you want to feel happy, just go to the Patriots website and watch this video.

We'll wait.

Seriously, go do it. Get lost in the full series. It features Vince Wilfork, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, and more. It shows them at their most vulnerable, at their most excited, and revealed how truly loving all of these players are at their core.

The one who steals the show isn't a member of the Patriots team, though- or maybe she is. It's a future puppy doctor by the name of Chya Mayo, Jerod Mayo's four-year-old daughter, and she was invited by the team to have her very own show.

"[The show] was actually the Patriots idea," Mayo said over the phone. "[Chya] enjoys it; she's a character. Usually the interviews change into the players interviewing her, but she enjoys it and she has a good time. She knows a lot of the guys as they've known her since she was a baby. You know, it's like family. It's like she's interviewing family."

And it's the family that binds this team together. Whether it's Chya referring to Wilfork as "Uncle Vince", or Devin McCourty making a personal goal to ensure Vince stayed a Patriot prior to the 2014 season, these players make being a Patriot personal and they wouldn't have it any other way.

Newly signed cornerback Darrelle Revis came from two different football programs before NewEngland and had to admit that he had never been on a road trip like the one between the Packers and Chargers game- and he also said that the bonding experience was like something he had never been through before. A tight-knit locker room is so important when it comes to developing trust on all levels of the field and team leaders like Mayo are so important in integrating everyone into the locker room.

Having a spark-plug like Chya in the family certainly doesn't hurt in helping to break down barriers, and the Mayo family shows how open and welcoming the Patriots family can be.

"Before we moved, it was open door policy," Mayo explained. "It's how it had to be."

Wait, why would you have an open door policy?

"Julian [Edelman] was our neighbor! [Matthew] Slater was also our neighbor over there, [Rob] Ninkovich was our neighbor. We had a tight little community."

In Chya's holiday sitdown, she even called out sophomore linebacker Jamie Collins for eating all of the cupcakes that were supposed to be for Santa. Her father just had to laugh.

"There's a lot of truth to that," he said. "[Jamie] eats a lot! He's a big guy, you know?"

Whether it's inviting other members of the team over to the house, spending time together on a road trip, or having your daughter provide laughter to bring everyone closer, Mayo understands that he's fortunate to have fellow leaders like Wilfork and McCourty around. Some might say that The Patriot Way definition from the turn of the century has morphed into an entirely different meaning.

The Patriot Way used to be about how no single player was bigger than the team. Now it might mean that every single player means more than the team. Every player, with their relationships, their work on the field, and their community involvement off of it, comes together to create a family, which acts as the cornerstone and foundation for the team's dynamic.

In fact, the success on the field is a result of the relationships that these players have built over the years.

"Oh, definitely," Mayo said. "We're all like family. When everything is going on outside of the walls, we don't hear any of that inside. We're all a family and we're all together and that's how we like it. The coaches put on a great game plan and as long as we go out there and execute it, we know we have a great chance of winning the game. That family aspect is huge- being able to trust one another and depend on one another to get the job done- it's big for us and that's the mindset we have each and every week."

This Patriots team is heading towards another Super Bowl and Mayo is still providing the glue that binds this New Patriot Way, even if he's on the sideline. This has been one of the best and easiest Patriots teams to root for over the years and it makes sense- it's more than just rooting for a team. It's rooting for a family.