Anyone who even glanced in the direction of the 2022–23 Denver Broncos is aware of the fact that Nathaniel Hackett’s brief, win-starved tenure as the team’s head coach was a total embarrassment. One of the many people in possession of this knowledge is current Broncos head coach Sean Payton, whom the Broncos bent over backwards to coax out of retirement after firing Hackett, desperately hoping that he’ll be able to clean up the mess Hackett helped make. Earlier this week, Payton was not shy in his assessment of Hackett’s performance.
Here’s a fun bit from a USA Today profile of Payton that was published on Thursday:
During the spring, Payton had a video made that hammered home the point that the 2022 season was over and done with. The video included the image of some team equipment staff members riding off in the orange, 2022 Ford Bronco (with the rearview and side mirrors removed) that had been positioned near the practice field. Also, a scene was edited in from the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” where John Candy’s character drove the wrong way on a freeway. And the video included a shot of a truck driving off a cliff.
Maybe there’s a part of Payton that wants to be a Hollywood film producer.
“That was a message,” Payton said. “They can only beat the (expletive) out of you so much. But everybody’s got a little stink on their hands. It’s not just Russell. It was a (poor) offensive line. It might have been one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL. That’s how bad it was.”
Though we can all appreciate and laugh at Payton’s candor, you hate to see an artist compelled to explain the message behind his work. Payton and his creative team surely spent countless hours figuring out how to best capture the spirit of the 2022–23 Broncos’ season before settling on the subtle and high-concept imagery of a truck driving off a cliff. But I guess that’s not good enough for our media-illiterate society. I guess everything has to be explained to you people!
You also hate to see someone like Payton immediately retreat from his bold artistic choices after receiving some mild criticism. At a press conference today, Payton told reporters that he regretted talking all that shit about Hackett on the record.
“I had one of those moments where I still had my Fox hat on, and not my coaching hat on.” Payton said, referencing the time he spent as a studio analyst last season. “It was a mistake, obviously. I needed a little bit more filter.”
You just can’t tell the truth these days. What a shame.