Sean Payton at a Denver Broncos' press conference on July 28, 2023. Jul 28, 2023; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton dresses the media after training camp at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Sean Payton era has gotten off to a horrible start in Denver. The Broncos are 0-3 and are coming off one of the worst losses in NFL history, allowing an incredible 70 points to the Miami Dolphins in a 70-20 defeat on Sunday.

After the game, Payton, who has never had the reputation of being Doc Rivers in his interaction with the media as a coach, was particularly feisty. Given the hype around Payton’s return to coaching and some of his comments about the job done in Denver last season, it’s a recipe for fireworks.

Now the microscope is firmly on Payton and with the pressure building on what could be a lost season, Payton is now facing even more heat and scrutiny from the local media in Denver.

Josh Dover and former Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokely host a radio show on 104.3 The Fan in Denver and called out Payton for his curt response to a question from the local media about the Dolphins game.

“Honestly here, and I’m a Sean Payton fan here,” Stokely said. He has treated the local media differently. Right? You don’t get passes when you come in and you try to change everything and you treat the local media one way but the national media another way. You’re their best friend. They can have full access and whatever they want, whatever they need, they’ve got. Local media? We’ve been relegated. All of a sudden, everything looks different than in the past and the performance was awful.”

Stokely also criticized Payton for his offseason comments about Nathaniel Hackett and the coaches last year and how he’s asking his players to do the opposite by putting their head down and working without making noise.

“You’ve just got to get up there and take it like a big boy,” Stokely continued. “You don’t need to fire back at a reporter like that. It’s uncalled for, it’s unnecessary. I can promise you this, promise you! If that was a national reporter, if that was Seth Wickersham or Jarrett Bell, he wouldn’t have answered it like that I can promise you that. And that’s what pisses me off.”

Stokely isn’t just any local media member – he played 15 years in the league including 3 years with the Broncos, so his words carry a lot of weight. Payton just worked a year in the national media at Fox, so maybe he sees those relationships as being more valuable to him right now than the local media. But it’s the folks in Denver who will be there every week whether the Broncos are playing well or suffering historic losses.

Payton came into the job with a chip on his shoulder and painted himself as the one who could turn the Broncos around given their high expectations after trading for Russell Wilson. If he is already seeing the local media turn against him for his favoritism for the national media AND embarrassing play on the field, it could be a very, very long season for everybody in Denver.