The power of phrasing is evident.
After the New York Jets secured a victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, a video capturing the postgame handshake between Robert Saleh and Sean Payton quickly went viral. It initially appeared as if Saleh had said, “Stay humble.”
Upon closer examination, it became clear that Saleh had actually said, “Stay healthy.” Nevertheless, the Jets’ head coach was asked about this moment during a recent appearance on The Michael Kay Show.
While Saleh confirmed that he did not instruct Payton to “Stay humble,” he also took the opportunity to make a subtle comment about the former Saints head coach, highlighting that Payton is currently facing challenges.
“No,” Saleh responded with a chuckle when Don LaGreca, who had recently made headlines with his impassioned critique of Giants offensive lineman Evan Neal, inquired about whether he had advised Payton to “Stay humble.”
“It’s not my approach. He’s going through a tough time right now, so there’s no need to pile on” Saleh continued.
The Week 5 showdown between the Jets and the Broncos, which may have saved the Jets’ season while dealing a blow to the Broncos, was widely anticipated as a grudge match. This stemmed from Payton’s critical remarks about New York Jets offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett during the offseason.
Although Payton had voiced disapproval of Hackett’s coaching performance in Denver the previous year, the Broncos’ performance this season is notably worse following their 31-21 loss to the Jets.
The challenges continue for both the Broncos and the Jets this weekend. Denver faces a Thursday Night Football matchup with the Chiefs in Kansas City, while the Jets will host the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Saleh is well aware of the difficulties associated with tough starts and, therefore, does not find himself in a position to criticize anyone.