Nathaniel Hackett got off to a bad start, never recovered and was fired by the Broncos after a terrible loss to the Rams

Nathaniel Hackett immediately dug himself a hole with Denver Broncos fans.

In Hackett’s first regular season game, he made the baffling decision to rush the clock and try for a 64-yard field goal for the game win against the Seattle Seahawks. That kick missed, the Broncos lost, and that started a string of errors that Hackett couldn’t get away from.

Hackett was fired by the Broncos on Monday, one day after the team was eliminated 51-14 by the Los Angeles Rams. Russell Wilson and Brett Rypien combined to throw four interceptions in the loss, which again saw an average of altercation in the game among members of the Broncos. It was, at least, the second time this season that two Broncos teammates walked into it during a game.

The Broncos confirmed the firing of Hackett in a statement.

The horrific Christmas loss to a Rams team trailing 4-10 early in the game could become Hackett’s low point of the year as a coach. Still, it’s hard to pick just one low point as the worst of a miserable season.

Hackett was in trouble before he actually left. By September, Broncos fans were already calling for Hackett to be fired. Finally they got their wish.

The move puts Hackett in an exclusive and infamous club. With the firing, Hackett became the 18th NFL coach to be fired during his first season on the job. Before Hackett, Urban Meyer, who was fired in 2021 after 13 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was the last head coach to be fired during his first year on the job.

Hackett lasted 15 games with the Broncos, the seventh shortest head coaching tenure in NFL history, according to The Athletic. Hackett went 4-11.

Nathaniel Hackett got off to a bad start

Even before the season began, some Broncos fans were annoyed that Hackett had not played a starter in the preseason. He had already started off on the wrong foot.

There was a lot of excitement for the Broncos going into the season, which made early season weaknesses harder to swallow. After a few delay-of-game penalties, Broncos fans derisively began the game clock countdown, and that ran through Week 2. Their patience was very short with Hackett.

There were ridiculous game management issues and the offense was terrible. Hackett was hired due to his job as offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers, which made the offense’s struggles a big deal for him. New quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t play well and it was hard to tell how much of the blame should have been Wilson’s and how much the coach’s. The Broncos’ offense has found new depths every week. Denver sits down dead last in the NFL in runs scored, averaging 15.5 points per game. The team also has the worst third down conversion rate in the NFL.

Wilson, who had a great career with the Seattle Seahawks, suddenly looked like one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL with the Broncos. Wilson signed a massive pre-season extension and isn’t going anywhere for a while.

Hackett was expendable and he took the blame.

Nathaniel Hackett had a miserable season as head coach of the Denver Broncos.  (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Nathaniel Hackett had a miserable season as head coach of the Denver Broncos. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Who will be the new head coach of the Broncos?

The attractiveness of the Broncos’ job has a lot to do with candidates’ opinions of Wilson. If they think the problem was Hackett’s offense and Wilson can be overturned, it’s a tempting job. There should be a lot of questions about it, however.

The Broncos have new owners, which is why Hackett didn’t last long. The Walton-Penner family bought the team for $4.65 billion shortly before the start of the season and after Hackett’s hiring. The new ownership group wouldn’t spend that much money and refuse to buy Hackett after one season, or spend that much on a new head coach. When Broncos fans started getting apathetic — they were abandoning close games early in the season and there were more than 18,000 no-shows for a home game against the Arizona Cardinals in December — it seemed obvious that big changes would be made. .

Hackett immediately seemed out of his mind and never did much to improve it. Broncos fans have been impatient with the franchise. He hasn’t been in the playoffs since a win in Super Bowl 50. The optimistic feelings following the trade for Wilson quickly dissipated.

Hackett will go down as a big miss from the Broncos. It was clear from the start that it wasn’t going to work.

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