What does recent history say about Hackett’s chances as head coach?

Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett is yet another offensive-minded coach hired. What does recent history say about his chances?

One of the most common trends in the NFL that most teams are beginning to copy is the hiring of offensive-minded coaches as their head coach.  Nathaniel Hackett is yet another person who continues that trend.

What I want to do for this piece is do a bit of digging to find out what recent history says about his chances as a head coach in the NFL.

I’m not going to go too far back here. I want to look at the last five years of head coach hires in the NFL. From there I’ll weed out all of the offensive-minded coaches, and from there I’ll look at their career records to see what kind of performance we could expect from Hackett.

Obviously, there are a ton of variables that could be examined here, but I think looking at the win-loss record is perhaps the best way to go about this.

So, let’s start all the way back in 2017, the year that the great Sean McVay was hired.

2017 Offensive head coaching hires

2018 Offensive head coaching hires

  • Matt Nagy – 34-33 career record (CHI)
  • Frank Reich – 38-30 career record (IND)
  • Pat Shurmur – 9-23 career record (NYG)
  • Jon Gruden – 22-31 career record (OAK/LV – 2018-2021)

2019 Offensive head coaching hires

  • Kliff Kingsbury – 24-25-1 career record (ARI)
  • Zac Taylor – 19-33-1 career record (CIN)
  • Freddie Kitchens – 6-10 career record (CLE)
  • Matt LaFleur – 41-13 career record (GB)
  • Adam Gase – 9-23 career record (NYJ)
  • Bruce Arians – 36-19 career record (TB – 2019-2021)

2020 Offensive head coaching hires

2021 Offensive head coaching hires

  • Arthur Smith – 7-10 career record (ATL)
  • Urban Meyer – 2-11 career record (JAX)
  • Nick Sirianni – 9-9 career record (PHI)
  • Dan Campbell – 3-13-1 career record (DET)
  • David Culley – 4-13 career record (HOU)

There have been 22 offensive head coaches hired since the 2017 cycle, and obviously, not every coach hired during this time ended up staying with their team. Some of them did get fired, and some others may end up getting fired after the 2022 season.

Of the 22 that were hired since 2017, as of me typing this article, just eight coaches have a winning record, both regular and postseason combined.

That’s just 36 percent of offensive coaches hired since the beginning of the 2017 season who have accumulated a winning record. Now, it’s likely that a few may jump into winning record territory. Kyle Shanahan, Kliff Kingsbury, and Nick Sirianni all have that chance in 2022. Zac Taylor’s record is likely to take a couple of years before it creeps into winning record territory.

Other coaches like Arthur Smith, who is essentially coaching a rebuilding team, could eventually see a winning record years down the road. This is the same for Dan Campbell.

These coaches have a combined 475-499-2 record. This is a winning percentage of .488.

So, since 2017, the offensive head coaches that have been hired in the NFL have mustered a .488 winning percentage.

I think using 22 coaches as a sample for this exercise is plenty of evidence to suggest that perhaps the offensive shift that many teams are going towards isn’t as easy as we think it is.

Brainiac head coaches like Kyle Shanahan still have a losing record, and coaches like Zac Taylor, who may be seen as one of the league’s better coaches, took until his third year to get there.

I do think that the league fixates itself too much on Sean McVay being the prime example of why hiring offensive coaches is the better route, rather than a massive exception to the rule.

I also think it’s a giant positive that Nathaniel Hackett was able to work with someone like Matt LaFleur for a few years before coming to Denver. Whatever LaFleur has done in Green Bay seems to be working, and hopefully, Hackett can employ that here.

Next. Broncos with the most to prove in preseason opener. dark

Given that Hackett’s quarterback is Russell Wilson, I would think that his head coaching tenure is likely to start out with a winning record. Whether the team can make noise in the playoffs in 2022 is another story.