At 6-5, the 2023 Denver Broncos have already totaled more wins than they had in all of 2022, and are firmly in the AFC Wild Card picture. After starting 1-5 and enduring one of the more embarrassing losses in NFL history in week three, the Broncos have spun off five wins in a row, all over teams firmly in the playoff picture. The question becomes, how has it happened? Well, let's take a look as to how the Broncos have turned the franchise around in less than one year.
1) Coaching, coaching, and coaching
There is a solid chance that the move from Nate Hackett to Sean Payton might be the greatest upgrade in the history of NFL coaching history. Hackett, just a few games in, had to hire a clock management coach, who when Hackett was fired, took his job as the head coach of the Broncos and produced better results in two games than Hackett did in fifteen. Needless to say, coaching was a major issue in 2023. Ultimately, the team had two head coaches and three offensive play callers. Definitely a struggle for the Broncos.
Sean Payton is arguably the best coach in the NFL, still, despite a year-long absence. Payton stepped down as the coach of the Saints, spent a year in the Fox studios, returned to the sidelines after the rights to his contract were traded to the Broncos, and subsequently signed a new five-year deal with the Broncos. Payton, if nothing else, has had arguably the biggest hand in the Broncos' revival. The 2022 Broncos looked like a team in the mud and a franchise that was destined for more lows. The 2023 team is one where you are starting to see the new cornerstones of the franchise, a philosophy that translates to winning on the field, and, for the first time since 2016, playoff hopes.