Amid a Super Bowl run for the Kansas City Chiefs is a big hire for one of their AFC West rivals.
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Denver fired head coach Vic Fangio following the Broncos’ 28-24 loss to the Chiefs in the regular-season finale. He finished his three-year tenure in Denver with a 19-30 regular-season record. Since Fangio’s firing on January 9, the Broncos’ front office has been on a mission to find the next coach to lead their team.
Hackett was one of 10 coaches that were interviewed for Denver’s head coaching job. The others were Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, Packers quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Luke Getsy, Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, New England Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, per ESPN.
Hackett Guided Rodgers’ MVP Campaigns
Hackett was one of the hottest names during the 2022 NFL hiring cycle due to his resume over the past two seasons in Green Bay. As the Packers’ offensive coordinator, the team ranked fifth overall in the league in total yards and No. 1 overall in points scored during the 2020 season, and 10th overall in total yards and points scored this season, per Pro Football Reference.
Hackett also helped Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers claim the third MVP award of his career last season, and is projected to be the league’s MVP this season as well after registering 4,115 passing yards, 37 touchdowns, and four interceptions. This is all while Rodgers has been heavily criticized off the field for lying about his vaccination status, and for an interview he had on The Pat McAfee Show, which included statements on alternative treatments to COVID-19 and criticisms of the NFL’s COVID protocols.
Rodgers’ ability to focus and succeed at an elite level on the field during the regular season despite the negative criticisms of him could be in part because of Hackett.
Could Rodgers Play in AFC West
During his first weekly interview on The Pat McAfee Show since Green Bay’s season ended, Rodgers said that he’s leaving all options on the table in terms of his playing career, whether it be staying with the Packers in 2022, joining another team, or retiring from football.
With Hackett becoming the head coach of Denver, one has to figure that playing in the same division as Kansas City is a realistic possibility for Rodgers.
With players like wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Cortland Sutton, tight end Noah Fant, and running back Javante Williams on offense, and a defense that ranked No. 3 in the NFL this season according to Pro Football Reference, there’s plenty of reasons the reigning MVP would want to jump ship and join his former OC in Denver.
The AFC West has gotten much more competitive for the Chiefs over the last couple of seasons due to the rise of quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. Let’s also not forget to mention the Las Vegas Raiders, who had to beat the Chargers in the regular-season finale to make the playoffs this season.
However, putting Rodgers in a Broncos uniform for the foreseeable future would make the division immensely more competitive. That would be bad news for the Chiefs.