The Unspoken Code: Nathaniel Hackett Responds to Sean Payton’s Criticism

New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett addressed the recent scathing criticism from Sean Payton, without directly mentioning the former coach’s name. Hackett expressed his disappointment that Payton violated an unwritten “code” with his remarks regarding Hackett’s coaching performance last season. Hackett acknowledged that Payton has been publicly blasting him for a year, but emphasized the need for respect and professionalism within the coaching fraternity.

In Hackett’s opinion, last week was an especially challenging time for the Jets organization. He shared his experience of being involved in coaching for 43 years, stating that coaches live in a “glass house.” Hackett believed that there is a certain way things are done within this house, and despite the frustrations and setbacks that come with the job, it is necessary to take ownership of mistakes. Hackett made it clear that he had no excuses for any shortcomings, accepting responsibility for his actions.

The Infamous Criticism

Sean Payton made national headlines with his comments about Hackett’s coaching tenure with the Denver Broncos last season. According to Payton, Hackett’s performance was deemed “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” Payton also mentioned the presence of “20 dirty hands” surrounding quarterback Russell Wilson. The former New Orleans Saints coach admitted that his remarks were a mistake and expressed intentions to apologize to Hackett and Jets coach Robert Saleh.

However, Hackett revealed that he had not yet received an apology from Payton, nor did he expect one. Hackett expressed his belief that Payton had indeed broken the code of the coaching fraternity. While he acknowledged that the criticism was not unexpected, Hackett felt that Payton’s approach had been consistent throughout the past year. Payton had been critical of the Broncos during his time as a Fox Sports studio analyst, targeting their decision to allow Wilson a private coach and office at the team facility. Payton also criticized the team’s disciplinary concerns and clock-management issues. Hackett was ultimately fired with a 4-11 record, while Wilson experienced his worst statistical season.

Looking Ahead

Despite the unfortunate comments made by Payton, Hackett focused on the upcoming game against the Broncos on October 8th. He expressed gratitude that the criticism had surfaced before the game, expecting it to be the focal point of Payton’s negativity. Hackett brushed it off, stating that the team understood the sentiments and opinions held by certain individuals. Maintaining a composed demeanor, Hackett referred to the matchup as “just another game.”

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers stood in solidarity with Hackett, expressing surprise at Payton’s criticism and stating his disapproval. Rodgers previously referred to Payton as “insecure” in an interview. Hackett, who comes from a family with a rich coaching background, found solace in the unwavering support he received. He was touched by the encouragement from players he hadn’t even met and former players who reached out. Hackett acknowledged that the controversy had brought the team closer together.

Nathaniel Hackett’s response to Sean Payton’s criticism shed light on the unspoken code within the coaching fraternity. Hackett emphasized the importance of respect, professionalism, and accepting responsibility for one’s mistakes. Despite the challenging circumstances, Hackett remains focused on the upcoming game against the Broncos and is grateful for the support he has received from the organization and his teammates.

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