On Monday, the Broncos premiered the first episode of the 2022 season of Behind the Broncos, and it did not disappoint.
Be sure to check out the full episode above, but if you want a brief overview, here's a look at some of our favorite moments:
INSIDE THE SEARCH
Like never before, this episode allowed viewers an inside look at what goes into an NFL team's search for a new head coach to lead the team.
In the opening minutes, we hear from several members of the team's search committee as they discuss what they're looking for and assess candidates.
As General Manager George Paton and the crew crisscrossed the country to conduct in-person interviews, he identified three primary qualities they were looking to find.
"We had a lot of traits," Paton said, "but one of the top three traits we were looking for — really, number one was leadership. We wanted a natural leader — someone to galvanize our organization. Number two, I would say, is connection — someone to have a connection with the player, with the staff, with the building, with the community, with Broncos Country. So we're really looking for that. And finally, we're looking for the best football coach for the Denver Broncos — someone who has a brilliant football mind. It didn't matter if it was offense, it didn't matter if it was defense. We were just looking for the best football coach."
From the video, we also hear about other characteristics that may have played into the search — someone with "fire," as Vice President of Player Development Ray Jackson put it — and as the search goes on, one candidate comes to the forefront: Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
HOW HACKETT SEPARATED HIMSELF FROM THE PACK
After landing back in Broncos Country, Paton stops for a minute on the tarmac to speak about some of a just-completed interview with Hackett in glowing terms.
"Hackett — really good," Paton said. "A lot of energy, a lot of juice. A commanding presence, a bright football mind. Has been in a lot of offensive systems, been with some great offensive minds and kind of put it all together. Green Bay obviously has a great offensive staff. So he was a really, really good interview."
Then, in a clip from that interview, we're able to see just how Hackett was able to make that strong impression.
"Coaches-led teams are really, really good teams," Hackett said. "Player-led teams win championships. So I think the idea as a coach is to empower players so that they can become championship teams. I want to create an environment where everybody in the building — not just players, but every person — loves coming into the building. Everybody's going to learn from their mistakes and celebrate the successes. And we're going to do whatever we have to do. That's my vision."
Later, Hackett recalled that his interview barely even felt like one because of how natural it was.
"Going through the interview process, my experience with Denver was unbelievable," Hackett said. "I mean, first and foremost, here comes Denver, and just the idea that it's the Denver Broncos is incredible. But then when all those people walked in … it wasn't really an interview. It was a conversation. It was almost like we were getting ready to start working together."
In the week that followed, the Broncos' committee honed in on Hackett and then hashed out the deal to make him the Broncos' 18th head coach in franchise history.
Take a look at new Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett's first day on the job, from his flight to Denver through interview and portrait sessions.
AT HOME WITH HACKETT
As Hackett prepares for his introduction as the team's new head coach, we're shown how he and his family get set for their trip to Denver — but before the flight, we get the chance to hear his excitement and the chance to know him a little bit better.
"I can't feel my face right now, but it's good," Hackett said. "It's a good thing. It's been awesome, the unbelievable support from all the people in my life has been absolutely unbelievable. The text messages — by the way, anybody that has text messaged me: I'll get back to you. There's a lot of them there. It's been losing a couple of them. But it's been awesome. The friends, the family. All the people I've worked with. Just the outreach of support has been unbelievable. It's just so darn exciting to get ready, to get to Denver."
As he packs and goes through boxes in search of perhaps anything he might need for this trip, Hackett takes a minute to walk us through some of his record collection, including several classic rock, R&B and hip-hop albums.
"Universal languages of the world," Hackett said. "So important: music, mathematics, analytics. A little bit different, but they're all the same."
And then, we're off. The family is out the door and on their way to Denver via private plane.
A NEW HOME
Upon the Hackett family's arrival in Denver, we follow Nathaniel around UCHealth Training Center as he settles into his digs.
In his office, one of the first orders of business is an exercise in creativity as he joins his children in drawing on a whiteboard. Moments later, Hackett has completed an impressive sketch of Goofy, the Disney character. True to what we've heard so far, Hackett is clearly a man of many talents.
Then, Hackett connects with one of the cornerstone players of the franchise, safety Justin Simmons.
"I just want you to know, I have heard so many amazing things about you as a man," Hackett said. "Obviously I respect you as a player, just how I've watched you over the years. I just want you to know, just the things people have told me, everybody I've talked to, I'm honored to be able to work with you, man. I cannot wait."
Simmons, who reached out to Packers running back A.J. Dillon and linebacker Preston Smith about his new head coach, discovered similar positive feedback.
"That means a lot," Simmons said. "The honor's on my end. I'm super excited. I'm really excited, man. … I asked A.J. Dillon about you, I've asked Preston. I know Preston Smith really well. I asked Preston about you. And I've heard the same things. I'm really excited. … You've got a hungry group. I'm going to do everything I can."
Then, as the conversation nears a close, Hackett turns to the future.
"I appreciate that," Hackett said. "Just know that we're going to do this together. All of us, we're going to do this together as one. We can win some ballgames. And in the end, that's the fun stuff, and it's about having some fun. We've got to win some games and we've got to do it the right way and together."