In his NFL head coach debut, Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett moved beyond football fame. On the same night Quinta Brunson received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for Jimmy Kimmel’s Deadly Comedy Series, Hackett died at what should have been a pivotal moment for Russell Wilson.
Wilson to Lumen Field dress like a mint chocolate chip, wearing a seagull blue suit and bow tie, then was stood up by his coach. At least Jimmy Kimmel’s reputation won’t be affected by the class clown behavior. Hackett chose to shoot on target for 64 yards instead of shooting in the 4th and 5th minutes as our first impressions of him. Pray for Denver Broncos fans if this is the kind of brain dead game management they have to expect. Not only did Hackett fail on the final lap, he staunchly defends his mental fart.
“We were right on the line [of McManus’ range]” Hackett said in the article about his post-game media availability. “… Brandon gave it his best shot yet. … obviously, I wish we were that much closer, which puts us in that weird position because we’re in that field target range. … We just made that decision and made our shot there. ”
Ummm… he can get closer – by going forward. In this age of analysis-heavy football, every tactician knows it would be advantageous to let it drop to fourth in short-court situations, but that’s especially true in the circumstances where Denver encountered. Ben Baldwin’s The Athletic run a bot to determine if the teams should have won it in fourth place, kicked it or beat it. Somehow, Hackett broke the bot, which didn’t post because it was Hackett’s only choice.
Baldwin’s Bot calculated that a goal-scoring attempt gave Denver a 0% chance of winning while doing it resulted in them having a 34% chance of winning. In 2021, teams have converted 49% of their efforts in 4th and 5th place anywhere on the field. On the third downhill, Hackett let Wilson throw another screen pass to Javonte Williams after his first screen pass to Javonte Williams was blown away for a four yards loss.
Attempts to score more than 60 yards with the game in progress is suicidal if your free kicker isn’t Justin Tucker, Tom Dempsey or is playing at Mile High. According to ESPN Stats and Information, since 1960, strikers trying to score more than 64 yards have made two out of 42 attempts, which works out to odds of 4, 8%. Hackett better ask his players to pin the Seahawks down out of their 10 and keep Seattle with three instead of making his hard choice.
Denver’s ability to complete a hailstorm would be 9.9 percent. Brandon McManus has been a league average kicker with a 1/8 from 60 yards or more of his career. Maybe in the thin air at Mile High you might think that a 64 yards athlete is a reasonable choice for a soccer player, but this is at sea level in Seattle. In 2013, Matt Prater drilled a 61-yard man in the street at SoFi Stadium in Week 18 earlier this year. Wilson is a seasoned clutch midfielder who has led countless wins in the game.
Furthermore, in Wilson’s career, he converted 57% on the fourth shot when he needed 4 to 6 yards. Up until that point, Wilson had thrown 340 meters and set a new record for the Broncos quarterback on their team debut. He is hiding from Seattle everywhere but the red area.
After a weekend in which Rodrigo Blankenship’s eye kick lost a goal to the Colts – as well as his work – Evan McPherson kicks like he has a wooden leg, Chris Boswell produces crossbar music and Randy Bullock’s 47-yard player failed in New York, Hackett appears as a goofy, neo-school football instead of the football he is portrayed in. Somewhere in his head, Hackett decided that trying to play a low-probability match with an unfit leg was Denver’s best chance.
Wilson later defended Hackett for doing the same thing that made Wilson team up with Pete Carroll by taking the ball out of his hand during rough times and not letting him cook.
“We had the best player in the game,” Wilson said after the Broncos loss, via ESPN. “We went there and unfortunately it didn’t go anywhere.… I believe in Coach Hackett, I believe in what we are doing, I believe in everything.”
Wilson should have been immediately forced to participate in the concussion ritual for talking about McManus as if he were an elite scorer. The kind of unattached belief in stone people is a cult statement that he has to get rid of. There is only one reliable striker in the NFL. The rest are just Nigerian princely email scams, waiting until they get paid to cut knives behind their team.
Maybe that’s a bit harsh. They mean well, but Hackett may be the only one who trusts his free-kick more than he would his $245 million quarterback. The odds were against Denver in a division stacked with Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers and Las Vegas. They don’t need their coach to stack more cards against them.