The Denver Broncos have a new head coach after they hired Nathaniel Hackett, who spent the past couple of seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Green Bay Packers. It’s a key move for a franchise that’s hellbent on luring disgruntled quarterback Aaron Rodgers to the Broncos.

Denver Broncos Hire New Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
Nathaniel Hackett, the Green Bay Packers’ former offensive coordinator, chatting with players during pregame warmups in 2021. (Image: Duane Burleson/AP)

The Broncos went 7-10 this season and missed the playoffs. They fired Vic Fangio the day after their season ended. The defensively-minded Fangio went 19-30 during three-straight losing seasons in Denver. He was the Broncos’ fourth head coach since 2016, and the fourth who failed to lead the Broncos to a postseason berth.

The Broncos are about to be sold. They had a Succession-like battle between controlling interests in who actually owned the team after Pat Bowlen passed away in 2019. With the thorny legal mess cleaned up within the Bowden family, the Broncos will set a new record as the most expensive American pro sports team — at an estimated $4 billion — after they are sold.

There are six potential bidders to buy the Broncos, including two competing groups spearheaded by Broncos President of Operations John Elway, and another group that includes former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

The Broncos won the Super Bowl three times. Twice with John Elway at quarterback, and once more with Peyton Manning. Can Rodgers be the final piece of the puzzle that brings the Lombardi Trophy back to Denver?

Mile High Rodgers

Rodgers is prickly when it comes to head coaches, especially after his well-documented fallout with former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy. However, Rodgers and Hackett are simpatico, which bodes well for the Broncos. Hackett also lets Rodgers freelance with the signal calling, especially in crunch time on the fly.

There’s been a prevailing joke over the last couple of weeks since Fangio was fired.

Q. Who will the Denver Broncos hire as their next head coach?

A. Whomever Aaron Rodgers wants.

Denver fans assumed they would have to install a puppet head coach (eg, LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavs, LA Lakers) if they expect to entice Rodgers to move to Colorado next season. Hiring Hackett as head coach is the first step in luring Rodgers to the Broncos

He wants out of Green Bay, but now it’s up to the Broncos to put together the right package to acquire Rodgers in a trade. And if they get Hackett and Rodgers, is Davante Adams not far behind?

Coaching Tree: Paul Hackett and Doug Marrone

Hackett is the son of a former football coach, Paul Hackett. If the surname sounds familiar, it should. The elder Hackett was a quarterback guru and spent stints as a college head coach at Pitt and USC. Hackett also spent time in the NFL as an offensive coordinator, including with the New York Jets. Late in his career, he worked under Jon Gruden as the quarterback coach of the Tampa Bay Bucks and Oakland Raiders.

The younger Hackett was groomed as a positions coach under Doug Marrone from the Buffalo Bills in 2013-14. When Marrone became the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Hackett followed him to north Florida. He started out as the QB coach of the Jaguars, just like his father, before earning a promotion to offensive coordinator.

Hackett specialized in rushing attacks as the Jaguars’ OC. It was his run-heavy offense that propelled the 2017 Jaguars into a spot in the AFC Championship game. Marrone abruptly fired Hackett in the middle of 2018 during a dismal season.

Since 2019, Hackett spent the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers under head coach Matt LaFleur.