New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett said Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton broke a "code" when he called Hackett's tenure with the Broncos "one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL" last week.
Hackett, who joined the Jets this offseason after he was fired from the Broncos after 15 games, called the comments "frustrating" and "unfortunate." But, Hackett added that he's happy Payton said what he said now rather than before Week 5, when the Jets and Broncos play in Denver.
"I've been involved in this business my whole life — 43 years," Hackett said. "As a coach, as a coach's kid, we live in a glass house ... there's a code and there's a way things are done in that house. This past week, it's frustrating and it sucks. We're all susceptible to it."
When asked if he believed Payton broke the aforementioned code, Hackett answered, "I do." He added Payton has yet to call and apologize to him and that he doesn't expect it.
The Jets came to Hackett's defense soon after Payton's comments. Head coach Robert Saleh noted the brighter spotlight on the team and advised others to "hate away." Quarterback Aaron Rodgers later called Payton "insecure" and that "he needs to keep my coaches’ names out of his mouth.” Offensive tackle Billy Turner, who played for Hackett with the Green Bay Packers from 2019-21 and with the Broncos in 2022, called Payton a "[expletive] bum."
Payton did eventually admit he regretted what he said. But the damage was already done. Now Saleh, Hackett and Rodgers will likely use Payton's words against him — especially in that Week 5 matchup.