Denver Broncos crucified as 'horrific' act leaves NFL world in uproar

·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett has come under heavy criticism for his late-game decision in the loss to Seattle. Pic: Getty/ESPN
Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett has come under heavy criticism for his late-game decision in the loss to Seattle. Pic: Getty/ESPN

Nathaniel Hackett's first game in charge of the Denver Broncos has been labelled ‘the worst head-coaching debut in NFL history’, after a questionable choice in the dying seconds of the game cost his side victory against the Seattle Seahawks.

Hackett has been slammed for his decision to attempt a 64-yard game-winning field goal, instead of putting the ball in the hands of $242 million (USD) quarterback Russell Wilson and going for it on 4th and 5.

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The Broncos could have called timeout with just over a minute remaining and given Wilson, who had already thrown for 340 yards, the opportunity to gain five more for a first down and extend the drive.

Instead they opted to let the clock tick down to 20 seconds remaining before calling timeout.

Brandon McManus’ kick, which would have tied for the second-longest field goal in NFL history, drifted right of the uprights.

The public backlash towards Hackett was swift and savage, with his decision making called out as ‘stupefying’ and ‘horrific’, while some pundits even suggested he should be facing the axe after just one game in charge.

Even NFL legends Peyton and Eli Manning, watching live on their program ManningCast, were left scratching their heads at the decision not to call a timeout and allow Wilson to make a play.

Denver QB throws support behind coach

Wilson defended his coach post game, saying he would not doubt Hackett’s decision making moving forward.

"We got the best field goal kicker maybe in the game,'' Wilson said.

"I believe in coach Hackett, I believe in what we're doing, I believe in everything.

“Anytime you can try to find a play on 4th-and-5, that’s great too. But I don't think it was the wrong decision… If we’re in the situation again, I wouldn’t doubt whatever he decided.”

McManus was also quick to take responsibility for the loss, tweeting that it was on him to successfully make the kick in such a scenario.

Broncos coach says he got it wrong

However, speaking to media the morning after the contest, Hackett admitted he made the wrong call.

"Looking back at it, definitely should have gone for it," Hackett said.

Seen here, Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett looking on during the fourth quarter of the Broncos game against the  Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.
Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks on during the fourth quarter of the Broncos game against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. Pic: Getty

"One of those things, you look back at it and say 'of course we should go for it, we missed the field goal.' But in that situation we had a plan, we knew 46 was the mark."

"We said 46 yards, the 46-yard line was where we wanted to be," Hackett said. " ... Didn't work, it sucks, but hey, that's part of it.

"That's part of being in this seat, being in this profession. This stuff is going to happen at all times, it's been happening my whole career, even when my dad was coaching, you're prepared for that, you understand that. You've got to keep grinding.”

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