ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The search is over. The Denver Broncos have found their next head coach.
George Paton and the Broncos are hiring Nathaniel Hackett, 42, to be the 18th coach in franchise history, DNVR has confirmed (first reported by Tom Pelissero).
Hackett is the team’s fourth head coach in the past seven years and the third since Gary Kubiak retired in 2016. However, unlike his previous two predecessors, Hackett is an offensive-minded coach.
The former Packers’ offensive coordinator spent the past three seasons in Green Bay, helping build one of the best offenses in football. During that time, he helped guide Aaron Rodgers to the best stretch of football in his career. In those three years, Rodgers averaged 37 passing touchdowns to only four interceptions.
Before his time in Green Bay, Hackett was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator for three years. In that time, Hackett had one of his most impressive feats as he led a top-five offense in the NFL in 2017 with Blake Bortles under center. That team went on to the AFC Championship Game behind the No. 1 rushing offense in the league.
Hackett has eight seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator under his belt, with his first experience coming with the Bills in 2013.
The Broncos’ search to find their next head coach was exhaustive as they interviewed 10 candidates over multiple weeks, eventually narrowing down the search to a final three. Denver hosted Hackett at the UCHealth Training Center on Monday. Kevin O’Connell and Dan Quinn were also in the mix as finalists.
However, once the Jaguars scheduled a second interview with Hackett for Thursday, Paton stepped in to make sure he locked Hackett in.
From the start, Paton stated the No. 1 characteristic he was looking for in his new head coach was leadership. Hackett has displayed his ability to connect with many different types of players and coach to their individual needs. The 42-year-old coach bring an incredible amount of energy and passion to the field and the film room.
Rodgers has stated he loves Hackett and that he should be a head coach. The Broncos hired Hackett without the intention of landing Rodgers. If they do land the future Hall-of-Fame quarterback, however, that would be a cherry on top.
Hackett now faces the challenge of building an offense to compete in the AFC West. His first task will be to build his first staff and find a quarterback that can bring the Broncos to the playoffs, a task they haven’t accomplished since the Peyton Manning era.