Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has been hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos, officially filling the first of nine such vacancies around the NFL.
Hackett agreed to join the Broncos late Wednesday night, and the team and coach finalized a contract Thursday. Per multiple reports, Hackett scratched a second interview with the Jacksonville Jaguars after it become clear he was a match with Denver, where Vic Fangio was fired by general manager George Paton.
Hackett, 42, just completed his third season as Packers' offensive coordinator after holding the same position with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18) and Buffalo Bills (2013-14).
Hackett is a first-time head coach but was a popular target in the current NFL interview cycle. He's also unequivocally endorsed by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
"What he did in Jacksonville, I think, was pure magic," Rodgers said this week in an interview with Pat McAfee. "Getting them within a quarter of the Super Bowl. He's a great coach. I love spending time with him. He's a fantastic teacher. He's incredible in front of the room."
Rodgers said this about Hackett's head coaching prospects in November 2020:
"I hope he doesn't go anywhere ... unless I do."
Paton was one of the general managers to check in on the availability of Rodgers in April 2021, when the divide between the front office and Green Bay's quarterback became public.
Rodgers said this week he plans to determine the next steps in his career before the start of free agency. Among the options are retirement, returning to the Packers or demanding a trade.
Hackett, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell were the finalists for the Broncos' job after they fired Fangio.
Fangio, 63, posted a 19-30 record with the Broncos. He had never been a head coach until the Broncos hired him.
Hackett is the son of former NFL offensive coordinator and college coach Paul Hackett, who served as head coach of Pitt and Southern California.
--Field Level Media