How close were Hackett’s Broncos to getting Rodgers? We just found out
It was all such a good plan; hire first-time head coach Nathaniel Hackett away from the Green Bay Packers and have his buddy, the current back-to-back MVP, quarterback Aaron Rodgers tag along with him.
And that’s almost how it played out for the Denver Broncos in 2022. But their plan was foiled after step one, never landing Rodgers and instead alternating to a trade for Russell Wilson. Hackett flamed out, Wilson had an awful year, Rodgers returned to the Packers and was mediocre and that pretty much brings us up to the present.
After the Broncos fired Hackett he caught on with the New York Jets, taking their offensive coordinator gig. His team just so happened to be well-positioned to land Rodgers, as the team seemingly copied Denver’s plan from the year before with lower stakes.
In front of 500,000 people watching The Pat McAfee Show live on YouTube, Rodgers made like LeBron James’ decision and shared his intention to play for the Jets.
The plan worked! It took two times of attempting the same plan. But as it turns out, the Broncos may have been right for trying. Rodgers told McAfee, “There’s one coach who means as much to me as any coach ever had, and he’s the coordinator there.”
So Hackett did play a big role in Rodgers eventual decision to move on from the Pack. This leads to so many unanswerable questions for the Broncos.
What if the Broncos hadn’t traded for Wilson? What if Hackett was rolling into year two with a quarterback vacancy? What if Rodgers felt the cold shoulder from Green Bay just a year sooner?
Those what-ifs may go down as some of the biggest in Denver sports history. The Broncos had a legit shot at the last few years of a Hall of Fame quarterback, instead, they snapped into making one of the worst trades in NFL history and have spent big money on a longtime coach.