Sports

Broncos Fans on Twitter Act Like Nathaniel Hackett Has Already Been Fired

Nathaniel Hackett meets the press after his second loss to the Las Vegas Raiders this season.
Nathaniel Hackett meets the press after his second loss to the Las Vegas Raiders this season. Denver Broncos via YouTube
Among frustrated fans of the Denver Broncos, whose 2022-2023 season has been an utter disaster despite the acquisition of high-priced quarterback Russell Wilson, the #firehackett hashtag has been hot since September. The calls for head coach Nathaniel Hackett to be pink-slipped reached deafening levels last week, after the team's collapse against the Tennessee Titans, leading into the November 20 game against the Las Vegas Raiders and Josh McDaniels, previously the worst head coach in Broncos history, for the second time this season.

After the Broncos lost 22-16 yesterday, plenty of those who haven't yet abandoned Twitter again demanded that Hackett be sacked immediately, if not sooner. But judging from their tweets, a sizable percentage of Broncos Country residents have come to the conclusion that Hackett is already history and are more interested now in who's going to replace him.

Hackett tried to buy himself time in advance of the contest by handing over play-calling duties to Klint Kubiak, son of former Broncos backup QB and Super Bowl-winning coach Gary Kubiak — and at the start of the game, the change looked as if it might pay dividends. The Denver offense looked crisper, with Wilson getting rid of the ball more quickly and even rolling out on occasion — a skill that Hackett seemed loath to utilize for reasons unknown. The squad jumped out to a 10-0 lead (again), and after giving up a touchdown to the Raiders, moved the ball inside the Las Vegas five-yard line, seemingly ready to put another TD on the board. But running back/fumbling machine Melvin Gordon coughed up the ball at the worst possible time (his specialty), and even though Denver recovered, a subsequent field goal attempt was blocked.

This all-too-familiar series of events was echoed by more flashbacks in the second half. The Broncos somehow managed to put another six points on the board, but allowed the Raiders to tie the score in the waning moments, and then notch a quick six-pointer in overtime, when receiver Davonte Adams made cornerback Patrick Surtain II look less than invincible in just a few agonizing seconds.

Despite these defensive failings, the person most tweeters apparently want to step in for Hackett is D-coordinator Ejiro Evero. Other names to surface include Dallas Cowboys coach Dan Quinn, a finalist in the process that led to Hackett's hiring, and, intriguingly, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a former CU Buffaloes great who's been passed over by NFL teams again and again despite the mandate to hire more Black head coaches.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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