Just when the drama seemed to be cooling down between Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and former head coach Nathaniel Hackett, the narrative began to shape itself once again ahead of Sunday's Week 5 matchup in Denver. Dating back to the offseason, Payton made some very honest, yet shocking comments when speaking on Hackett's coaching during the 2022 season calling it "one of the worst coaching jobs I've ever seen."
Due to both the New York Jets and Denver Broncos starting the season off with disappointing 1-3 records, the drama and feud between both teams may not be as hot as it once was this offseason however, new Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett spiced things up once again in a Thursday morning press conference.
This comes after Sean Payton informed the media earlier in the year that he would be "apologizing" to Jets head coach Robert Saleh and Nathaniel Hackett "at the right time". However, even though Payton stated that the apology would eventually be made, Hackett seems to clearly be a bit distraught when asked in a presser if Payton has yet to personally give him an apology. Hackett even gives a slight smirk after repeatedly answering "no". Just from his response alone, it is evident that there are still hard feelings between both coaches and that Sunday's matchup is nothing short of personal.
In Week 5, Nathaniel Hackett and the Jets will travel to Denver in a "must-win" game for both teams. This will mark Hackett's first game in Denver since he was relieved of his duties in 2022 after just 15 games as the team's head coach. As we all know, the lack of offensive success, Russell Wilson's career-worst season, and the divided locker room was a ripple effect of Hackett's poor effort as a leader of the organization. From lack of accountability to refusal to tailor the offense to the starting QB's strengths, there were a number of reasons why Hackett's tenure as the Broncos head coach was one of the worst of all time. Therefore, Payton said absolutely nothing wrong.
However, according to Hackett's own words earlier this year, Sean Payton "broke the code" of coaching fraternity around the NFL, and because of this, both sides are on bad terms. While it may show a lack of respect, just from a human standpoint for Payton, honesty may have been the hard truth for Hackett and the end of the day. And now with Jets QB Aaron Rodgers out for the season with an Achilles injury, the poor coaching is already spilling over from his time in Denver to now in New York as the Jets offense has continuously struggled to be a disciplined unit through four games.
While the drama between Sean Payton and Nathaniel Hackett has regained some recent traction, the trickle-down effects from the media drama should not have a large impact on the result of this game. When the cleats hit the gridiron, the only thought on the minds of the coaches and players should be doing whatever they can to avoid a 1-4 start to the season. Sure, the drama can be entertaining. But on Sunday, there are two desperate teams matching up against one another with the season essentially on the line and we know for a fact Sean Payton's offense will be ready to play. Hopefully this time around, Broncos fans won't have to be counting down the play-clock for Nathaniel Hackett's offense at Empower Field.