3 worst head coaches in Denver Broncos franchise history

The Denver Broncos have been one of the winningest franchises in the NFL since the 1980s, but they have had some duds leading the team at head coach.

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages
3 of 3

Worst head coaches in Denver Broncos history

1. Nathaniel Hackett (2022)

You really hate to do this, because Nathaniel Hackett really does seem like an awesome human being who obviously meant no harm. Unfortunately, as an NFL head coach, Hackett was in way over his head.

At this point in time, it almost seems abundantly clear that the Broncos' plan was to hire Hackett as a means of luring Aaron Rodgers to the Mile High City. Starting in the 2021 NFL Draft, it felt like the Broncos had a really solid chance for a full calandar year of getting Rodgers to Denver and hiring Hackett was arguably the biggest step they took toward making that happen.

Seeing Hackett go to the Jets followed by New York trading for Rodgers? It kind of validates all of those previous Rodgers-to-Denver rumors.

But the Broncos didn't get Rodgers, and Hackett's time with the team was nothing short of abysmal. They were the worst offense in the NFL in 2022, ranking 32nd in the league at under 17 points per game. The Broncos were the worst team in the league converting on third downs, they were the 2nd-most penalized team in the league, and they were just 4-11 before firing Hackett after a Christmas debacle against the Los Angeles Rams.

Hackett struggled badly early on with game management. So much so that George Paton called former Baltimore Ravens special teams coach Jerry Rosburg out of retirement to basically manage games for the team. The Broncos were struggling with the play clock, situational football, and it was so bad so quickly that a drastic measure had to be taken.

By the time we got to the end of the season, Hackett had essentially been stripped of one of his primary duties as the head coach as well as stripped of his duties calling plays for the offense. The Broncos tried letting Klint Kubiak call plays as well as Justin Steele after Hackett was fired.

Hackett is now one of only four head coaches in NFL history to be fired before the end of their first season with the team. The Denver Broncos' new ownership group was fed up with the way things were going in their first year with the team and they got the process of hiring a new head coach underway as quickly as possible.

Hackett's gaffes were not limited to game management or poor offense, either. The staff that he built was mostly his buddies and it cost the Broncos dearly in areas like the offensive line, where Hackett let go of Mike Munchak in favor of Butch Barry, who was immediately fired by Jerry Rosburg last year when Rosburg took over as interim head coach.

Overall, it wasn't just about the record the team had with Hackett as the head coach, but the way the team operated and how big of a mess was truly made last year.

10 players who looked weird in a Broncos uniform. 10 players who looked weird in a Broncos uniform. dark. Next