Nathaniel Hackett was hired this offseason by the Denver Broncos in hopes of breathing some life into the offense alongside the addition of Russell Wilson. Through 15 games, Denver is just 4-11 with the league’s worst scoring offense, which is averaging 15.9 points per game and has just 22 total offensive touchdowns.
Early on, the defense was keeping Denver in games, but on Christmas, the Broncos fell apart completely in a 51-14 loss to the Rams (which likewise entered the game with 4 wins and were starting Baker Mayfield). It was a disastrous performance, including three more Russell Wilson interceptions, and one that proved to be the last straw for the Broncos front office, as they fired Hackett on Monday morning.
The #Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett, per source. pic.twitter.com/Jf7XPAuMBX
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 26, 2022
A league source said last night that the #Broncos were looking to "blow it up."
Now that starts with the team firing Nathaniel Hackett, per source.
First reported by @TomPelissero
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) December 26, 2022
It’s rare for a coach to be fired in the midst of their first season, but Hackett’s tenure was truly a disastrous 15 games and it was clear nothing was getting better for Denver to be worth continuing the charade for the rest of the season. Hackett joins Urban Meyer and two others as the only NFL coaches to last less than one season before getting canned.
Nathaniel Hackett becomes only the FOUR @NFL head coach to be FIRED without lasting one season.
2021: Urban Meyer (JAX)
1978: Pete McCulley (SF)
1949: John Whelchel (WAS)
(Others have stepped down or resigned, etc)
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) December 26, 2022
From the first game of the season, when Hackett’s catastrophic clock management and bizarre decision-making cost Denver a win when he played for a 64-yard field goal, he has appeared over his head in the head coach role, and while it’s still jarring to see a coach fired in the middle of his first season, it was fairly clear this wasn’t going to work out.
To be clear, Denver’s failings are far from the sole responsibility of Hackett. Russell Wilson looks completely cooked, and with his massive contract, whatever coach that takes on the Broncos job is going to have to figure out how to mask his deficiencies and try to coax better play out of him. Otherwise, it won’t matter much who is at the helm.