The hashtag Fire Nathaniel Hackett is trending among Denver Broncos fans

On September 25, the Denver Broncos will take on the San Francisco 49ers Football on Sunday night – the most well-known showcase of the NFL. But instead of eagerly awaiting new quarterback Russell Wilson to unleash the magic that made him the Super Bowl champion, many fans are busy tweeting #firehackett, a hashtag that refers to Nathaniel Hackett, the head coach of the first-year teams, aims.

Immediately following the Broncos’ final matchup on September 18 against the puny Houston Texans, a spate of #firehackett news swept the cybersphere – a win, true, but by a much narrower score (16-9) than anyone expected a series of unfortunate events, all of which could be linked to Hackett. These include: an offense led by Wilson that often looked like slow-motion footage of an imploding plane; so many penalties that yellow-flag manufacturers probably had to work overtime just to keep up fourth-quarter deliveries; and the kind of watch management that can make Big Ben bang his head.

Not everyone who used the hashtag felt it was time to give up all hope for the new coach. One person wrote on Twitter: “Wow! #BroncosCountry is already calling for #firehackett??? 2 games in??? I know he’s showing his inexperience, right? [that] What do you get when you hire an HC for the first time? RELAX.”

This council could not stem the flow. Many #firehacketts continued to surface in the days following the Texans’ victory, with user belief that Hackett needed to be cracked seeming to grow by the day. A guy tweeted #firehackett replies 23 times yesterday on the Broncos Twitter account. yes 23

One reason is the growing concern that Denver is once again being humiliated on national television. Most pundits said the Broncos would beat the 49ers because they played at home and San Francisco would be led by Trey Lance, the quarterback-designate of the future but one who is completely unproven in the present. But during the previous 49ers contest against the Seattle Seahawks, Lance broke his leg and ended his season early — and his replacement, the much more experienced Jimmy Garoppolo, quickly led his buddies to a 27-7 win.

Note that the Broncos lost to the Seahawks 17-16 in an even bigger Hackett debacle Monday night soccer six days earlier.

How could Hackett inspire so much contempt already? Many of the reactions can be traced back to expectations. Denver has gone through a string of failed quarterbacks since Peyton Manning’s retirement and set a record not so mediocre since the 1960s, when the fledgling franchise credited for awful tan-and-tan vertical-striped socks rather than rust known was glory. While the notion that Wilson’s mere presence would cure all Broncos ailments was hopelessly naïve, many boosters were desperate enough to believe it anyway.

Hackett, the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, meanwhile, was perceived as having been hired to lure quarterback Aaron Rogers to Colorado. Instead, Rogers essentially capitalized on Denver’s interest in him to secure a huge contract with the pack – and while Hackett made a positive first impression in Colorado with his upbeat personality that contrasted sharply with the somber gloom of his predecessor, Vic Fangio, was his on-the-fringe performances during the campaign so far have effectively set fire to all the goodwill he had garnered. Plus, he was hired before the new ownership group, headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton, daughter Carrie Walton Penner, and son-in-law Greg Penner, officially took over — so they have no vested interest in whether he stays or goes.

Not that Hackett would likely get the nod should the Broncos let it stink against San Francisco on Sunday. Saving him so early would panic Walton, the bums and general manager George Paton. But a loss — especially one where the offense looks pathetic again and the coach spends precious seconds debating whether to kick a field goal or attempt a fourth down — will take #firehackett from a hot take to one of the hottest hashtags making in Denver and beyond.

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