Commentary

Nathaniel Hackett Hire: The Broncos' Sucking Up to Aaron Rodgers Has Begun

Nathaniel Hackett as seen in a November press availability in which he praised the toughness of Aaron Rodgers.
Green Bay Packers via YouTube
Nathaniel Hackett as seen in a November press availability in which he praised the toughness of Aaron Rodgers.
If you doubted that Green Bay Packers quarterback and ultra-talented douchebag Aaron Rodgers is the Denver Broncos' dream signal-caller, doubt no more. ESPN and pretty much every other major sports-news outlet is reporting that the Broncos are hiring Nathaniel Hackett, Rodgers's offensive coordinator, to replace Vic Fangio as the squad's new head coach.

Clearly, the sucking up to Rodgers is underway.

At 42, Hackett is already a football lifer. According to ESPN, he served as a ball boy for the Kansas City Chiefs during the period when his dad, coach Paul Hackett, was on the club's staff, "and even filled in as a long-snapper during drills at times." He began his own coaching career as an assistant at UC Davis and Stanford prior to joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Jon Gruden in 2006 as a so-called "quality coach." He filled that same role for the Buffalo Bills during the 2008 and 2009 seasons before heading to Syracuse, where he worked with quarterbacks and tight ends on a staff headed up by Doug Marone.

When the Bills hired Marone as head coach in 2013, Hackett became the squad's offensive coordinator — and when Marone left for the Jacksonville Jaguars a couple of years later, Hackett followed as offensive-line and assistant head coach. He was subsequently promoted to offensive coordinator and earned plaudits when the Jags reached the AFC championship game after the 2017 season. After a slow start in 2018, Marone gave Hackett the heave-ho, but he landed on his feet, winding up as Green Bay's offensive coordinator early the next year.

These credits are enough to justify the hire, particularly given the putrid state of the Broncos' offense. But in addition, Hackett appears to have an excellent relationship with Rodgers, which, given the QB's prickly demeanor, isn't something just anyone can claim.

Rodgers, meanwhile, has been coy in comments about his future since the Packers were bounced out of the playoffs this past weekend by the San Francisco 49ers, even floating the possibility of retirement. In his words, "Everything is on the table." But as we noted in our recent post "Aaron Rodgers: Should Broncos Fans Even Want This Jerk?," Rodgers's talent is accompanied by plenty of baggage. The two questions for fans we cited: "Should the team shoot the works to lure Rodgers, an undeniably great talent who would represent a roughly 1 billion percent upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock? Or should the team ignore him because he's a narcissistic diva and morally dubious anti-vaxer who has spent the last decade losing playoff games that his squad was supposed to win?"

The Broncos definitely don't have control of this situation. Since Rodgers is still under contract to the Packers, he'd either have to demand a trade or quit — and if he opts for the former, plenty of other teams in addition to Denver will move heaven and earth to lure him. Yet the Hackett hire is a clear indication that the Broncos will do whatever it takes to get Rodgers to head to Colorado, jerk or not.