Eric Bieniemy has become the cause celebre when it comes to minority assistants who have been denied the opportunity to become NFL head coaches.
Three years as the coordinator of one of the league’s most prolific offenses in Kansas City has led to several interviews for Bieniemy — but no promotions.
As Bieniemy prepares for his second straight Super Bowl appearance with the Chiefs, many outsiders point to the failure of teams to hire him as emblematic of a major problem for a league that preaches diversity but has only three Black head coaches among the 32 franchises.
“I did not ask be the poster boy of this particular situation that I have experienced,” Bieniemy said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, the only thing that you want to do is be recognized with all the things that you’ve accomplished, and for whatever reason that has not happened. That’s OK, because the only thing I know what to do is to just go back to work and continue chopping wood.”
Bieniemy has accomplished plenty since taking over as coordinator in Kansas City for Patrick Mahomes’ first season as the starter in 2018. His two predecessors in the job turned it into promotions, Doug Pederson getting hired by Philadelphia in 2016 and Matt Nagy getting the head coach's job in Chicago two years later.
Bieniemy is still waiting for an offer despite coordinating an offense that leads the NFL in scoring (31 points per game), yards (406.9 per game) and yards per play (6.45) over his three years.
“I don’t understand everything, I am not an owner, I don’t sit in those meetings to interview head coaches,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “Whoever gets him whenever they get him, they will be very lucky.”
While some give the full credit for Kansas City’s success to Mahomes and Reid, the quarterback and head coach are vocal about how big a role Bieniemy has played in the team’s success.