Eric Bieniemy still waits for head job, helps others advance
Eric Bieniemy is still waiting to land a head coaching job after interviewing with 14 teams over the past four years.
He’s not pouting but he’s not giving up, either.
Bieniemy has assembled an impressive resume as the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs under Andy Reid. The Chiefs scored the third-most points (565) in NFL history in his first year at the helm in 2018. Patrick Mahomes was NFL MVP that season. They won the Super Bowl the following year.
Yet, Bieniemy has been passed over for coaches who’ve accomplished far less. Still, he has a bright outlook.
“I’m very proud that I’ve had the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Bieniemy told The Associated Press. “You want to come away with the job, but you still got to feel proud and stand tall that you were given that opportunity. But also realizing that it’s not just about the opportunity, it’s how you learn from that particular situation that you’ve been given. I’ve made it a point to just digest all the information, go back through all my notes. I always want to reevaluate myself first. Yes, it hasn’t happened, but that’s not going to be a downfall to me not pursuing my dreams or my goals.
“When it’s all said and done, Eric Bieniemy is going to continue to be Eric Bieniemy. I’m going to be the best offensive coordinator that I can possibly be. I’m going to be the best husband I can be, the best father. And I will continue expanding my horizons and making sure that when the next hiring process comes around, I will give myself a better opportunity to go and pursue the job that wants to pursue me.”
After six interviews following the 2020 season, Bieniemy met with the Saints and Broncos earlier this year. New Orleans went with in-house assistant coach Dennis Allen and Denver hired former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
In a copycat league where teams continually pluck top coordinators from successful teams, it’s a mystery why Bieniemy keeps missing out. Nearly half the teams have interviewed him. The New York Jets brought him in twice in 2019 and 2021.
Reid’s extensive coaching tree includes Super Bowl champions John Harbaugh and Doug Pederson. There’s also Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, Leslie Frazier, Todd Bowles, Matt Nagy and more. Reid has called Bieniemy “an owner’s dream” and a “tremendous leader.” Mahomes and other players have heaped praise on him.
Bieniemy maintains a positive perspective.
“Sometimes the job is not right for us and it may not be the time, but that’s OK,” Bieniemy said. “Our job is to pursue a championship so my job is to make the very most of this. And then when that opportunity comes around again, I guarantee you I’m going to be better because of the experiences that I’ve had. And that’s what I’m looking forward to so we can’t sit around and wallow in pity.”
While he strives to become a head coach, Bieniemy is helping other coaches advance their careers. He was among the featured speakers at the NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit in June. Bieniemy led a discussion on how to interview for an offensive coordinator position.
“The thing you want to do when you’re in that particular environment, you want to share all the knowledge that you have and the wisdom and insight just so those guys are prepared for those moments,” Bieniemy said.
The 53-year-old Bieniemy played nine seasons in the NFL as a running back for the Chargers, Bengals and Eagles following a standout career at Colorado where he began his coaching career in 2001. He’s been a running backs coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL since 2006. He’s still learning, even from the interviews that didn’t produce the job he seeks.
“I’ve been in enough interviews to know that there’s always something to learn,” he said. “The beauty of being in the position that I’ve been in is I’ve seen how a lot of organizations are run. And, I think having that diversity of talking to all these different organizations, it just gives me a better viewpoint of how I should establish myself, how I should go into this particular interview with this particular game plan or how to attack it, take more of a business approach when sitting in that chair.
“But the beauty of it is this, you got to keep evaluating yourself first, and then always reassess the things that you need to do. And yes, feedback is always welcome. Sometimes you get the proper feedback if you’re seeking it. So, certain teams are more upfront than others. But when it’s all said and done, it really doesn’t matter, because I’m the one that has to look myself in the mirror. I have to do better and I have to pursue that job, and I’m going to continue investing in myself.”
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