Eric Bieniemy should have a job as a head coach in the NFL


Kendal Manns, Editor-in-Chief

Imagine you are one of the best in the world at your position. Your company has seen the most success out of any other in the five years you have served in your position. You have a great team around you and collectively you are known as one of the best every calendar year. Despite all of this success, you are continually overlooked when it comes to getting an elevated position.
This storyline is the curious case of NFL offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy Jr., who served as the offensive coordinator for the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. During the past few offseasons, Bieniemy’s name has floated around as a potential head coach candidate for a few NFL teams, but for some reason he has not received the opportunity. After years of not receiving a call to lead his own team, Bieniemy was named the offensive coordinator for the underperforming Washington Commanders Feb. 17.
Bieniemy’s detractors throw around narratives like him not calling plays and the team’s success being more about the players as reasons for him not getting a leading job, but I am not sold. On the surface, I can understand why those narratives exist. Andy Reid, the head coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, is known around the league as an offensive savant. Patrick Mahomes is a multi-time MVP and has been dubbed by many as the next great quarterback already in conversations with Tom Brady. The Chiefs have had very talented players on the offensive side of the ball with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill just to name a few. With all that being said, many of the narratives hold no value within the Chiefs’ locker room.
Reid has come out on multiple occasions to explain what Bieniemy does for and means to the Chiefs offense. In an interview with KSHB 41, Reid came to Bieniemy’s defense.
“When people say ‘EB doesn’t call plays.’ EB does. I mean he literally calls the plays in there. I have full trust that if he has an idea and he wants to shoot it, then he puts it in and we go.”
I do not know about you, but I trust the words of the head coach more than anyone else. Reid is not the only one to come to Bieniemy’s defense though. There have been several players over the years to praise Bieniemy’s abilities and character.
When Mahomes was asked about his feelings on Bieniemy not getting a head coaching job, he said, “It’s so past deserved, man. He’s done everything the right way. He’s been a part of this offense and this team for so long, holds everyone accountable, is creative in making up plays for us. I don’t know why he hasn’t been hired.”
Tyreek Hill, current Miami Dolphins wide receiver and former Chiefs wide receiver shared Mahomes’ confusion on the situation. “EB still not [having a head coaching job] job is crazy to me, another great coach [being] slept on.”
Another thing that makes the situation more confusing is that there have been other offensive coordinators that have coached under Reid that have not achieved anywhere close to the same amount of success that Bieniemy has but have had no problem getting head coaching gigs. Matt Nagy and Doug Pederson are the two names that come to mind. In the three seasons Pederson served as offensive coordinator (2013-2015), the Chiefs went a combined 31-17. Pederson had no problem getting a job with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after in 2016. Under Nagy, the Chiefs went a combined 22-10 in the 2016 and 2017 seasons. The Chiefs never made it past the divisional round of the playoffs under either man.
Since Bieniemy took over as offensive coordinator in 2018, the Chiefs have gone a combined 62-18, reached the conference championship game in each of those five years, went to three Super Bowls and won two, with their most recent coming a few days ago.
Now with all that information, my question is still: Why has Eric Bieniemy not gotten a head coaching job in the NFL?
He may not end up being a great head coach, but he deserves the opportunity nonetheless. Many coordinators have not made good head coaches, yet they have gotten multiple opportunities (Josh McDaniels for example). Bieniemy deserves a shot.
Being a head coach in the NFL as a Black man is not an easy feat by any means. According to an article by the Associated Press, since the 1989 hiring of Art Shell by the Oakland Raiders, “there have only been 21 Black coaches who have held the position on a non-interim basis.” Heading into the 2023 NFL season, there are only three Black head coaches in the league, DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans), (Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers). The NFL’s lack of diversity is another column itself, but these statistics shed light on another thing that could be hindering Bieniemy’s chances.
I say all this to say, Eric Bieniemy should be a head coach in the NFL. The Chiefs’ success in his tenure speaks for itself. The glowing reviews from Reid and his players are just the icing on the cake. I wish him all the success in the world with the Commanders and hopefully a long-awaited head coaching opportunity with a fair shot to compete for a championship.