Broncos avoided disaster by not interviewing head coach candidate

The Denver Broncos avoided disaster by staying away from this HC candidate

Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / David Jensen/GettyImages

As the 2023 NFL season has progressed into Week 12 now, it's become abundantly clear that the Denver Broncos avoided disaster when they decided not to even interview former Indianapolis Colts head coach and current Carolina Panthers head coach Frank Reich for their own vacancy back in January.

The Panthers hired Reich as their head coach and immediately got to work on what was considered arguably the best offseason out of just about any team in the NFL. The Panthers assembled an all-star crew of a coaching staff, which included former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. They traded up to the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft so they could select their quarterback of the future.

The Panthers were active in free agency, the trade market, and they even beat the Denver Broncos who were competing to sign free agent wide receiver Adam Thielen.

Things started pretty great on paper, but here's a look at how things are going...

If Frank Reich is already on the hot seat, it's a horrendous sign for him as a viable head coach option going forward. The Indianapolis Colts fired Reich in the middle of last season and made the wildly unpopular decision to name Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach over him. Reich's work with the Philadelphia Eagles and their offense/quarterback position initially got him the gig with the Colts where he and Andrew Luck were supposed to dominate the AFC together.

That obviously didn't work out.

Reich seemingly had landed on his feet with Carolina, a franchise in which he suited up as the first quarterback in team history back in the day. Reich's career arc had seemingly come full circle, and he was fully equipped with all of the assets he needed to build the coaching staff, to build the roster in free agency, and to make any trades he and GM Scott Fitterer desired.

And after the whole offseason of legwork and homework, the Panthers settled on Bryce Young as their QB of the future over CJ Stroud, who has looked like an absolute star with the Texans while Young has struggled badly to get going in Carolina.

Not only has Young struggled (while Stroud hasn't), but the Panthers have the worst record in the league and are poised to give the Chicago Bears the #1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They have already made a significant change at play-caller.

Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos are on the brink of their first five-game winning streak since 2015. They have beaten the Kansas City Chiefs for the first time in over eight years. They are in the playoff mix at the end of November. Head coach Sean Payton has made good on almost every "promise" he made in terms of getting this thing in Denver turned around quickly, even if it wasn't as "quick" as everyone really wanted.


There was a lot of confusion back in the interview process about why the Walton-Penner ownership group didn't interview a candidate like Reich, who seemed to check all of the boxes when it came to being a veteran coach who would build a good staff, and one with an expertise on offense. The ownership group set their sights as high as possible and they were right to stick to the top candidates on their list.

dark. Next. Predicting the score of every remaining Broncos game. Predicting the score of every remaining Broncos game