The Denver Broncos announced Monday they have fired rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett before the end of his disastrous first season.
Hackett, 43, coached 15 games with the Broncos, finishing with four wins and eleven losses. His team carried playoff expectations into the season after acquiring Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade in the offseason.
However, Wilson and the team have not lived up to those expectations, and tempers have flared in public. After a 51-14 blowout loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Christmas Day, Broncos owner George Penner and general manager George Paton decided to move on without Hackett, with two games remaining on the schedule.
“Following extensive conversations with George and our ownership group, we determined a new direction would ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos,” team owner and CEO Greg Penner said in a statement. “This change was made now out of respect for everyone involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach.”
Penner said fans “deserve much better” and called the current situation with the Broncos “a challenging stretch for our team.”
“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 added.
Hackett became the fifth coach in NFL history to be fired before the end of his first season, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
With this firing, there will now be at least three head coaching vacancies in the NFL when the season ends. The Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts let go of their head coaches earlier this season.
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