Nathaniel Hackett joins ranks of the shortest coaching stints in NFL history
The Broncos made history on Monday, and not the good kind, joining an oddball list of embarrassing implosions making for the shortest head coaching stints in NFL history.
Denver fired Nathaniel Hackett, the final straw a pitiful 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas Day.
The Broncos are moving on from Hackett after just 15 games, which is barely longer than the laughable, icky and scandal-filled Urban Meyer tenure with the Jaguars last year. Hackett actually started 2-1 before long losing skids ended his time in Denver. And it was Hackett’s inability to make superstar quarterback Russell Wilson look competent while under new ownership that did the coach in.
So, where does Hackett rank among the shortest reigns in the NFL coaching ranks?
24 hours — Bill Belichick, New York Jets, 2000
Belichick was the leader of the Jets for one crazy day day in New York. The highly-touted defensive coordinator and future Hall of Fame coach was about to succeed Hall of Famer Bill Parcells when he resigned in 1999. But during Belichick’s introductory presser, he gave a resignation speech. He ended up being traded to the Patriots for a first-round draft pick and became one of the greatest coaches of all-time.
2 preseason games — George Allen, Los Angeles Rams, 1978
Another Hall of Fame coach who had an embarrassing tenure. Allen was fired after just 120 minutes of exhibition football, thanks to some disagreements with the players. He was let go about six months after he took over as head coach of the Rams for the second time. Ray Malavasi led the Rams to a 12-4 record after taking over for Allen.
9 games — Pete McCulley, San Francisco 49ers, 1978
A longtime assistant in the NFL, McCulley took over in San Francisco to much hype. While never a head coach at any level, the Niners just traded for Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson in the offseason. After a 1-8 start, McCulley was let go. The team ended 2-14, committing 13 turnovers, second only to the 1961 Denver Broncos. The team went 2-14 the next season under first-year head coach and future Hall of Famer Bill Walsh in what was Simpson’s last season. San Francisco won their first Super Bowl in 1981.
13 games — Lou Holtz, New York Jets, 1976 — Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons, 2007 — Urban Meyer, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2021
15 games — Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos, 2022
The Broncos hiring of Hackett, 42, quickly started poorly when Denver could not land superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay, where the coach had been an assistant for both of the signal caller’s last two MVP seasons.
Hackett replaced Vic Fangio, who replaced Vance Joseph, who replaced the last successful coach in Denver—Gary Kubiak. Hackett went from helping the NFL’s best offense in 2020 to leading the league’s worst offense in 2022. Hackett never seemed to find firm footing in Denver, while never commanding the respect of Broncos Country.