5 best seasons for first-year head coaches in Broncos history
Nathaniel Hackett will be the 18th head coach in Denver Broncos history when the 2022 season kicks off.
The 17 head coaches before him have achieved varying results but perhaps none of them have entered their first season with the team facing bigger expectations.
None of the head coaches before Hackett were also getting a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback as a newcomer to the team. Throw on the fact that this is a team looking to end a long playoff drought and there will be a lot of pressure.
In order for Hackett to get this team to the playoffs in 2022, he will need more than just Russell Wilson. But several first-year coaches have taken the Broncos to the playoffs before.
There was also Josh McDaniels getting off to a 6-0 start before finishing 8-8. Mike Shanahan also went 8-8 in his first year with the team before reaching the highest levels of success in team history.
Neither of them makes this list.
Looking back at the first year of every head coach in the history of the team, here are the five best seasons.
5. Dan Reeves, 1981
When Edgar Kaiser bought the Broncos in Februrary of 1981, he wanted to usher in a completely new era in Denver, firing Red Miller as head coach and hiring Dan Reeves. To that point, Reeves had served on the staff of Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys.
At 37 years old, Reeves became the youngest head coach in the league and he had a tremendous first year in Denver, winning 10 games.
Reeves won his debut as head coach by defeating the Oakland Raiders. Following a loss to the Seattle Seahawks the following week, the Broncos went on to win their next four games in a row.
Despite a 10-6 record, they missed the playoffs that year. In 1981, only five teams made the playoffs from each conference and both the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets edged the Broncos out for a Wild Card spot.
The Broncos lost to the Chicago Bears 35-24 in the season finale with a spot in the playoffs on the line, but it was still a highly successful season for Reeves, who had never been a head coach at any level prior to that point.
This is similar to the situation that Hackett will be walking into, complete with a new owner.