PENNER: I Want To Personally Apologize To All Of Broncos Country

Denver Broncos co-owner Greg Penner is looks on prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, September 25, 2022 at Empower Field At Mile High in Denver. (Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

If anyone had any doubts, they can be put to rest.

The owners of the Denver Broncos know full well what kind of season the team has had.

Tuesday, Co-Owner/CEO Greg Penner and General Manager George Paton discussed the decision to dismiss Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday, one day after a disastrous 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Penner said that game and the season as a whole have not lived to the Broncos standards and expectations.

"I want to apologize to our fans and all of Broncos Country," Penner said to begin his opening comments. "We know we need to be better and we will."

Penner said their original plan was to make a decision on Coach Hackett's fate after the season ended.

"[We] would've like to be patient until the end of the season to make a decision at that point. We didn't go into this week thinking this was a time we were going to make a change. But after we saw the effort that we put forward on Sunday, [and] some of the things that were going on off the field, we felt like it was time to make a decision. One we had made that decision, it was in all fairness to the organization and to Nathaniel, we needed to move forward and make the change."

Hackett's dismissal comes with the Broncos at 4-11 with two games remaining. They play at the Chiefs on New Year's Day before closing out the season at home against the Chargers the second weekend in January.

Several months ago, the prevailing thought in the organization was that the team could very well be making a push for the playoffs right now. Instead, the Broncos will be looking for their fourth head coach since Gary Kubiak retired after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in early 2016.

"Nathaniel's a very good football coach," Paton said. "He's even a better person. It just didn't work out here and that's on me. I told the players yesterday I take full responsibility for where we are as a football team. I brought in the head coach. I brought in most of the players. Those are my decisions and there's no one to blame but me."

Now the focus turns to the Broncos search for a new head coach. The last three Broncos head coaches (Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio and Hackett) have been first-time head coaches. Paton said that experience helps but will not be required. He added that they hope to interview current defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero for the position.

Speculation has already ramped up. Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, whose rights still belong to the Saints, is reportedly putting together ideas for a staff in anticipation of potentially returning to the sidelines. University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh's name has come up as a possible target for the Broncos, along with current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who formerly took the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl as their head coach.

In the press conference Penner and Paton addressed talked about the reasons for the head coaching change, the timing of it, the qualities they want in a new head coach, the need to evaluate all areas of the Broncos football operations, why Penner has confidence in Paton as the GM, the play and future of Russell Wilson and much more.

The full press conference with Penner and Paton is below.

Denver Broncos Co-Owner/CEO Greg Penner (r) and General Manager George Paton (l) talk with reporters at UCHealth Training Center on Tuesday, December 27. (Photo: Ryan Edwards/KOA

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