Cowboys Broncos Football

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett, left, chats with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn during an NFL football practice Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the Broncos’ headquarters in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

The firing of Huggable Nathaniel Hackett is the end of another error.

The Broncos’ operational owner must not screw up the hiring of a coach to begin the new era.

Reunite Dan Quinn with Darrell Bevell and Russell Wilson, who together with the Seahawks shredded the Broncos in Super Bowl 48 43-8 and returned to the NFL championship game the next season. Quinn was the defensive coordinator, Bevell the offensive coordinator and Wilson the quarterback on Seattle teams that were 30-8 over two years. Quinn is the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Bevell the Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator and Wilson the Broncos’ underachieving quarter-of-a-billion man.

Hackett couldn’t hack it.

Quinn should have been the Broncos’ head coach this season, and Wilson recommended Bevell for the Jaguars’ offensive coach last season. The three have 55 years of NFL experience. Quinn was the Falcons’ head coach for six years, and Bevell twice has been named an NFL interim head coach. Each has served with Broncos’ general manager George Paton on the staffs of NFL teams, and both are 52.

The Broncos need adults in the rooms and hallways at Dove Valley and on the sideline at Mile High Stadium again.

Broncos co-owner and Walmart chairman of the board Greg Penner, who says he will lead the discovery for a new head coach, should start and finish with championship-caliber coaches Quinn and Bevell. No more first-timers, please.

Hackett and his staff were know-nothing neophytes who malfunctioned like the British schoolboys stranded on an inhabited island and fighting each other. This season has been straight out of “Lord Of The Flies’’.

The only coaches who should be retained under Quinn are defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, defensive line coach Marcus Dixon and defensive backs coach Christian Parker.

Sign Up for Pikes Peak 5

Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Rid us of all the rest of the rascals Hackett brought in, and let Quinn and Bevell select a veteran special teams coordinator who won’t be ranked 32nd and find qualified offensive assistants.

Problem is, owner Penner, his father-in-law Rob Walton and wife Carrie Walton Penner, and partners Mellody Hobson and Lewis Hamilton didn’t have a day of background in the NFL when they took over the franchise, and majority shareholders Walton and Penner didn’t realize what they were getting into or getting from these Broncos.

Penner stated Monday a bland euphemism of “the Broncos and Hackett are parting ways’’ instead of the blunt exclamation “he’s fired, out and gone." The chief executive also claimed he has “confidence in’’ Paton, who is more to blame than the coach, but unequivocally will be brought back as principal football operations head.

Paton hired Hackett and traded for Wilson, the biggest Broncos bust of all time, and edge rusher Randy Gregory, who has been the runnerup blunder, and free agents who have failed or spent their time here on injured reserve. “Pat’s Pride’’ is not an appropriate name for his two drafts and his trades.

Paton has been a problem, not a solution, to the bad-blues Broncos. As I’ve noted, the Broncos will not be introduced or mentioned for a seventh straight season at the upcoming Broncos-themed National Western Laughingstock Show & First Rodeo.

Especially after The Christmas Day Debacle in Los Angeles against the Rams. The Broncos drifted into La-La Land metaphorically and literally in the worst defeat and lackadaisical effort since Josh McDaniels was coach. Kid McHoodie survived for five more games before he received the orange slip after a 59-14 blowout to the Raiders. Hackett didn’t last 18 hours following the 51-14 Sunday Snafu.

The disillusioned Walton bunch finally figured out what the rest of Broncos Country already had understood since September. The Broncos are not good, and Hackett was no good.

I grasped from Hackett’s first public media press conference that he was more a frat boy or a cheerleader than a capable coach. Paton and his search committee from the Broncos had been pranked. Then Hackett’s Charmin-like practices in training camp were ridiculous, and his decision not to play any starters, especially Wilson, in exhibitions was absurd. When the regular season opened Hackett looked like he should be managing a laundromat rather than a real game from the sidelines with all his errors in judgment, schemes and directives.

Mercifully, the errors and the era are over. To err is human; to err over and over is the Broncos.

On the day after Christmas all of Colorado rejoices. Good riddance.

Woody Paige has been a sports and general columnist in Colorado with the Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, The Colorado Springs Gazette and The Denver Gazette since 1974. He has been a commentator for the ESPN network on six different shows for 20 years. woody.paige@gazette.com

Sign Up for Pikes Peak 5

Game analysis and insights from The Gazette sports staff including columns by Woody Paige and Paul Klee.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Load comments