Denver Broncos co-owner/CEO Greg Penner confirmed that the team has fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett.
In a statement released Monday, upon consultation with general manager George Paton, Penner explained that Hackett’s departure — less than 24 hours after Denver’s 51-14 loss to the Rams on national television — “would ultimately be in the best interest” of the wayward franchise.
“On behalf of our ownership and organization, I want to thank Nathaniel Hackett for his dedication as head coach of the Denver Broncos. We sincerely appreciate Nathaniel’s efforts and wish him and his family all the best in the future,” Penner said, via the official team website.
“Following extensive conversations with George and our ownership group, we determined a new direction would ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos. This change was made now out of respect for everyone involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach.
“We recognize and appreciate this organization’s championship history, and we understand we have not met that standard. Our fans deserve much better, and I can’t say enough about their loyalty during such a challenging stretch for our team.”
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The decision to axe Hackett put to rest a tumultuous 2022 campaign for the former Packers assistant, who engineered the NFL’s worst scoring offense alongside $245 million quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson imploded at Los Angeles on Christmas Day, tossing three interceptions and recording a career-low 3.5 QBR. He’s also absorbed a league-high 57 sacks this season, the latest of which purportedly sparked a now-viral sideline tussle.
Interestingly, given fan outcry, Penner intimated that Paton — who hired Hackett and has tallied an 11-21 record since succeeding John Elway — will avoid a similar fate as the Broncos hunt for their fourth head man since 2017.
“Moving forward, we will carefully evaluate every aspect of our football operations and make whatever changes are necessary to restore this franchise’s winning tradition,” Penner said.
“I will lead our head coaching search with support from our ownership group and George, whom I have confidence in as our general manager. As we begin the process of selecting our next head coach, we remain focused on playing competitive football to finish the season on a positive note.”
Penner and Paton will hold a press conference to address Hackett’s firing on Tuesday at 10 a.m. MT from the UC Health Training Center.
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