For whatever reason, people came after Sean Payton when his interview with USA Today went public. However, as the 2023 NFL Season has gone on, Payton's comments are becoming more and more correct. People talked about this random coach's "code" that Payton was apparently breaking when he talked about the ineptitude of the 2022 Denver Broncos.
He was very, very blunt in the interview, and you don't have to look far to find those comments. NFL circles ran with those comments, and the national shows stood on their ivory towers and claimed that the future HOF head coach was out of line for his comments. Honestly, it was pretty brutal to have to go through.
It became especially brutal after the Denver Broncos 1-5 start to the 2023 NFL Season, which included a tough loss to the New York Jets, the center of much of what Payton had to say. Below is a chunk of what Payton had to say to USA Today's Jarrett Bell:
"“I’m going to be pissed off if this is not a playoff team,” Payton told USA TODAY Sports.- Sean Payton via USA Today
“It doesn’t happen often where an NFL team or organization gets embarrassed,” Payton said. “And that happened here. Part of it was their own fault, relative to spending so much (expletive) time trying to win the offseason – the PR, the pomp and circumstance, marching people around and all this stuff.
“We’re not doing any of that. The Jets did that this year. You watch. 'Hard Knocks,' all of it. I can see it coming. Remember when (former Washington owner) Dan Snyder put that Dream Team together? I was at the Giants (in 2000). I was a young coach. I thought, ‘How are we going to compete with them? Deion’s (Sanders) there now.’ That team won eight games or whatever. So, listen…just put the work in.”
“Oh, man,” Payton began. “There’s so much dirt around that. There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”
“That wasn’t his fault,” Payton said of Wilson. “That was the parents who allowed it. That’s not an incrimination on him, but an incrimination on the head coach, the GM (George Paton), the president (Damani Leech) and everybody else who watched it all happen.
“Everything I heard about last season, we’re doing the opposite,” Payton said."
Sean Payton really took it to the 2022 Denver Broncos, and I guess coaches across the NFL aren't allowed to speak their minds anymore. Payton also kind of name-dropped Hackett, but didn't really say much more about him personally. I could see how some of his comments could rub people the wrong way, especially the Jets' organization, which hired Hackett to serve as the team's offensive coordinator.
That helped them land Aaron Rodgers, who ruptured his Achilles just a handful of plays into his Jets' tenure. And now, the Jets sit at 4-6 with one of the worst scoring offenses in the NFL. They just benched Zach Wilson, and some guy you've never heard of, Tim Boyle, is going to be their starter. Former Denver Broncos' Super Bowl champion QB Trevor Siemian is going to be the backup.
Payton's comments were magnified after the Jets' loss and after the Broncos' 1-5 start, but now, every word he said is 100% correct, and there's no use pretending to act like what he said was out of line.