In an interview with USA Today on Thursday, Payton said that his predecessors had done “one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of the NFL.” He also said that the team’s offense was “atrocious” and that the defense was “a joke.”
Payton’s comments drew widespread criticism from fans, media members, and even some of his own players. On Friday, he issued an apology, saying that he “regretted” his words and that he had “made a mistake.”
“I had one of those moments where I still had my FOX hat on, and not my coaching hat on,” Payton said. “I said what I said, and obviously I needed a little bit more restraint, and I regret that.”
Payton was hired by the Broncos in January after spending the previous two seasons as an analyst for FOX Sports. He is a two-time Super Bowl champion as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.
The Broncos finished with a 7-10 record in 2022, their third consecutive losing season. The team is hoping that Payton can help them turn things around in 2023.