Nathaniel Hackett Gives Blunt Response to Sean Payton Apology Question

Nathaniel Hackett, Sean Payton

Getty New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton.

This game feels personal.

Ahead of the New York Jets traveling to Denver to play the Broncos, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was asked about the scathing comments that were made by head coach Sean Payton earlier this offseason.

He dodged most of the questions about him versus Payton during the 10 minutes and 34 seconds he spent in front of the media on Thursday, October 5, but he did provide some clarity on the Payton apology tour.

Hackett was asked if he had received an apology from Payton or if he had even reached out.

“No. Nope. No,” Hackett bluntly responded to the flurry of questions.

Payton said publically in the aftermath of his comments that he would reach out to Hackett and apologize for what he said. Hackett said he never received an apology or a phone call for that matter.

Hackett-Payton Beef Provides Some Sizzle to This Jets-Broncos Game

During a long-form interview with USA Today, Payton told Jarrett Bell that Hackett’s 15-game run as the Broncos head coach was “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.”

Typically you don’t hear this kind of coach-on-coach crime because there is an unwritten and unspoken code about always looking out for each other in the coaching fraternity. It has been described to me by former players and coaches as a “brotherhood.”

Back on August 1, Hackett had a chance to break the silence on the topic and responded publically for the first time since those comments were made.

“I’ve been involved in this business my whole life, 43 years, and as a coach, 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, and there’s a code and there’s a way things are done in that house.”

At the moment Hackett provided some real emotion, but fast forward a few months now that we are in-game week between the Jets and Broncos, things have quieted down.

Hackett said this game isn’t about him, but rather the players on the field and trying to win a football game.

Rich Cimini of ESPN said Hackett provided a lot of “short answers” to any Payton questions during his media availability.

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic said Hackett had “no interest” in answering any questions about his tenure in general with the Broncos organization in 2022.

This Broncos Game Might Decide the Rest of the Jets Season

The Jets are staring at a fork in the road in Week 5.

One path will take them to 2-3 with a home matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 6. An opportunity to reach .500 (3-3) heading into the next phase of their season.

The other path has them dropping to 1-4, a four-game losing streak, and a matchup against a team that won the NFC conference and participated in the Super Bowl in February.

It is a must-win football game under normal circumstances, but considering all of the extracurricular activity involved it has reached another level.

Aaron Rodgers was asked about Payton’s comments back during training camp and his, “keep my coach’s name out of his mouth” quote went viral on social media.

Hackett wasn’t the only one who caught some stray bullets during Payton’s interview with USA Today. He put the Jets on blast for appearing on “Hard Knocks” and seeking extra attention this offseason. Accusing them of caring more about the spotlight than just putting the work in.

If this game feels more personal than your typical game it is because it is more personal.

The Jets have tried to do a good job all week of playing those themes down publically but behind the scenes, this is all the extra motivation you need to be focused on what was already considered an important game on the calendar.

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