One of the biggest stories of the first week of training camp was Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton absolutely destroying Nathaniel Hackett for Denver’s colossal failures last season.
Hackett, now the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, finally had his chance to fire back at Payton, which he did, albeit in a classy and professional manner.
“Obviously, [the] last week has been a very unique week for this organization,” Hackett said. “I’ve been involved in this business my whole life, 43 years. As a coach, as a coach’s kid, we live in a glass house. We know that. We all live in different rooms. We all have a key for it. It’s one of those things, there’s a code, there’s a way things are done in that house.”
It’s hard not to like Hackett. I respect his response to Payton’s comments pic.twitter.com/dmtCwc3C5T
— ThatsGoodSports (@BrandonPerna) August 1, 2023
Hackett further acknowledged that he was not surprised by Payton’s remarks, claiming that the former coach has been publicly criticizing him for a year.
Payton had described Hackett’s coaching with the Denver Broncos last season as “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL” and blamed several issues on Hackett, including problems with quarterback Russell Wilson.
When asked if he believed Payton had broken the coaching fraternity’s code, Hackett responded: “I do. I do.”
He added that the criticism was anticipated, as it had been ongoing since last year.
Payton had previously stated that he intended to apologize to Hackett and Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh for his remarks. However, as of now, Hackett stated that he has not received an apology and does not expect one.
Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers also weighed in on the controversy, expressing his displeasure with Payton’s comments: “I didn’t like it at all,” Rodgers said, going so far as to call Payton “insecure” in a previous interview.
Despite the controversy, Hackett spoke of the support he has received from the Jets organization and the positive impact it has had on the team. He mentioned that players on the defensive side of the ball and even former players had reached out with encouraging words.
“It’s unfortunate that it had to happen, the comments that were made, but, hey, they did,” Hackett said. “I’ll tell you, I was probably more surprised that it happened now. [I] was definitely expecting them in Week 5 [when the two teams play each other].”
“So, I’m almost thankful that we got that out of the way. We all understand the way certain people feel and think.”
The Jets will face the Broncos on October 8th in Denver, and Hackett referred to the matchup as “just another game,” which clearly won’t be the case.
What do you think of Hackett’s response to Payton?
Should he have gone even harder at him? Or was his professional remarks just right?