5 worst coaches in Denver Broncos history
Coming off the heels of the Nathaniel Hackett era, now’s a good time to look back at some of the worst coaches in Denver Broncos history. In the interest of fairness, we have decided not to include interim coaches.
Our list includes coaches who coached at least 15 games as a Broncos head coach. In our book, wins and losses are important, but not the only factor when determining the ranking. Do you agree with this list?
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As the first coach in Denver Broncos history, Frank Filchock set a few milestones. Filchock and the Broncos won the first game in AFL history, 13-10 over the then-Boston Patriots. Denver began 1960 with an impressive 4-2 start, before finishing their first season 4-9-1. In 1961, Filchock and the Broncos finished with a dismal 3-11 record, only one game better than the AFL-worst Oakland Raiders. Filchock never coached another game. His final win percentage stands at .259, the second-worst in franchise history.
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Faulkner coached the Denver Broncos from 1962-1964, compiling a record of 9-22-1 during his career. In that time, Faulkner served as both the head coach and general manager. After his stay with the Broncos, Faulkner went on serve on the staffs of the Minnesota Vikings (1965), New Orleans Saints (1967-1970) and the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams (1966, 1971-1996).
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Mac Speedie replaced Faulkner as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 1964. The Broncos, then a member of the AFL, suffered through Speedie in 1964 with a 2-7-1 record. They then went 4-10 in 1965 before finally giving Speedie the boot two games into the 1966 season. Speedie’s .240 win percentage is the lowest mark in Denver’s history for coaches with at least 15 games under their belt.
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Nathaniel Hackett came to Denver with no previous head coaching experience, and it showed, beginning in Week 1 of the 2022 season. From clock management issues to sideline scuffles between his own players, the Hackett experiment was essentially death by 1,000 needles. The final straw came after a 51-14 Christmas Day rout against the Los Angeles Rams. The day after the game, Hackett was given the heave-ho. Hackett only coached 15 games for the Broncos, putting together a 4-11 record.
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Josh McDaniels doesn’t have the worst record, but he is arguably the worst coach in Denver Broncos history. Hired to replace Mike Shanahan, the McDaniels era started off with a standoff with then-quarterback Jay Cutler, which ended with the QB being traded to the Chicago Bears. McDaniels was highly sought after because of his explosive success with the New England Patriots. During his time with the Broncos, McDaniels showed that he brought over at least a little bit of Bill Belichick in him. In the midst of the 2011 season, Denver was caught filming the San Francisco 49ers practicing in London. The infamous “McSpyGate” incident effectively ended McDaniels’ disgraceful tenure with the Broncos. McDaniels ended his Denver career with an 11-17 record.