After saving his job in London, Nathaniel Hackett can’t rest easy
As someone who highly recommends an autumn mountain getaway before ski season starts, I was glad to see Nathaniel Hackett got away to Vail during the bye week. He joked he got reintroduced to his kids. Good stuff.
I like Hackett. I’m rooting for him to succeed. But make no mistake, the Broncos win in London over Jacksonville was merely a temporary stay for the coach. He resumes the second half of the season squarely on the hot seat.
The Frank Reich firing in Indianapolis got my attention. I feel we’re entering a time where we’ll see NFL owners show less and less patience with their coaches. Or, at least, they’ll share enough dissatisfaction that general managers, eager to save their own skin, will show less patience with their head coaches.
Look where this is going. Fans are more engaged with their teams than ever before. Fans are more demanding than ever before. The stadium experience is losing some of its appeal, so owners must keep butts in the seat if they want to keep their revenue-producing palaces turning out monster profits.
The Broncos ownership group was front and center in London. Team president Damani Leech went on and on about Broncos Country being international with no boundaries. I’ve said it right from the beginning: This ownership group wants to do big things with the Broncos brand. To accomplish that, they need a winning football team that is not the butt of jokes from the football world when they lose in embarrassing fashion.
So let me summarize. You have an aggressive, image-conscious ownership group and an ultra-demanding fan base that knows the signs of first-time head coaches in over their heads.
That’s not a good combination for Hackett to overcome. So what needs to happen over these last nine games in order for Hackett to get another season? I don’t believe it’s tied to making the playoffs. If the Broncos can go 6-3, or even 5-4, the rest of the way, while showing marked improvement with the Russell Wilson-led offense, then I believe Hackett returns.
Anything less than that and I think he’s one and done.