Nathaniel Hackett & Aaron Rodgers Sound Off on Sean Payton’s Comments

Nathaniel Hackett

Getty Former Denver Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett looks on before Denver's game against the Houston Texans.

The 2022 season was not a good one for the Denver Broncos. They made one of the biggest trades in NFL history for quarterback Russell Wilson, who had the worst season of his career and the Broncos failed to make the postseason once again.

On July 27, Broncos head coach Sean Payton took multiple shots at former Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett saying last season was “One of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.”

This came after Hackett’s Broncos finished the season with the worst scoring offense in the NFL and led to Wilson throwing a career low 16 touchdowns.

On August 1, Hackett (Jets offensive coordinator) stepped up the podium to speak to the media for the first time since Payton’s comments were made and he made sure that his comments were heard.

“Obviously, last week has been a very unique week for this organization and 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.”

Hackett went on to explain that he’s surprised that Payton’s comments came this early instead of their Week 5 matchup.

“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. So, I’m almost thankful that we got that out of the way. We all understand the way certain people feel and think.”

The Broncos will host the Jets on October 8.

New York’s QB Didn’t Like Payton’s Comments

Newly acquired quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, was close to Hackett during their time with the Green Bay Packers when Hackett was Rodgers’ offensive coordinator for three seasons.

On July 30, during an interview with the NFL Network, Rodgers gave his thoughts on Payton taking shots at his offensive coordinator.

“Those comments were very surprising and for a coach to do that to another coach.”

“On the field, he’s arguably my favorite coach I’ve ever had in the NFL,” Rodgers said. “Just his approach to it, how he makes it fun, how he cares about the guys, just how he goes about his business with respect, with leadership, with honesty, with integrity. It made me feel bad that someone who’s accomplished a lot in the league is that insecure that they have to take another man down to set themselves up for some sort of easy fall if it doesn’t go well for that team this year?”

Rodgers then went on to take a shot at Denver’s head coach.

“I thought it was way out of line, inappropriate, and I think he needs to keep my coach’s name out of his mouth.”

Hackett and Rodgers are Waiting for an Apology

On July 28, [the day after his comments about Hackett] Payton explained that he made a mistake by taking shots at Hackett for last season’s performance.

“I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on and not my coaching hat on,” Payton said on Friday. “I said to the team that we’ve had a good offseason and here I am the veteran stepping in it. It was a mistake, I need more of a filter. I said what I said and obviously needed a bit more restraint.”

When asked if he had reached out to apologize to Hackett and Jets head coach Robert Saleh, Payton said, “Yea, at the right time. I think the world of Robert [Saleh], I know him, I don’t know Nathaniel [Hackett], but at the right time. It’ll certainly bring more interest to the game when we play them, but I’ll handle it the right way.”

Hackett mentioned that he has yet to receive an apology from Payton.

During an interview with Kay Adams on July 31, Rodgers had more to say.

“There’s a way of handling things, and probably a way not to,” Rodgers added. “Sometimes, you say something really stupid that warrants and apology. Sometimes, you don’t apologize.”

Adams responded by asking if he has heard from Payton.

“I haven’t heard from him.”

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