An annual list of up-and-coming coaches in the NFL that are primed to take on larger roles during the upcoming offseason was dished out by NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero for the 2021 candidates.
On Pelissero’s list was a Kansas City Chiefs coach not named Eric Bieniemy that is not only primed to get a promotion from his position coach role but could even be a head coach by this upcoming offseason.
The coach Pelissero named was Chiefs quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator, Mike Kafka.
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Kafka Could be OC for Chiefs, Another Team
Here’s what Pelissero wrote about Kafka, who is in his fifth season as part of Kansas City’s coaching staff:
“A fourth-round pick by Andy Reid’s Eagles in 2010 who bounced around the NFL as a quarterback for parts of six seasons, Kafka possesses innate leadership traits and has earned a strong reputation as a QB tutor since reuniting with Reid in Kansas City as a quality control coach in 2017,” Pelissero wrote.
“He was promoted when the Bears hired then-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy in 2018 (the same year Patrick Mahomes took over as QB1), and the plan has been for Kafka to move up again to OC when Eric Bieniemy gets his head-coaching shot after so many interviews in recent years. That still hasn’t happened, and Kafka now is on the head-coaching radar himself. His Chiefs contract is also set to expire after the season, and he could end up elsewhere as a play-calling OC in 2022 if a head job doesn’t materialize.”
The interesting nugget from Pelissero details how, if Bieniemy lands a head coach gig, Kafka is in line to take his former role of offensive coordinator for the Chiefs. If Bieniemy doesn’t get a promotion, then Kafka — who has an expiring contract in 2022 — could go elsewhere in order to pursue a promotion.
As a coach that has had Patrick Mahomes under his wing since Mahomes was a rookie, losing Kafka — if he were to go elsewhere in 2022 — would be a big loss for the defending AFC champions. Having a coach in Kafka’s position that has a strong relationship with the team’s starting quarterback is pivotal, making the potential departure of Kafka significant.
This may be the same reason why head coach Andy Reid kept Kafka around despite the Philadelphia Eagles trying to hire him as an offensive coordinator this past offseason, according to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo. Reid seemingly knows the value Kafka has played on offense, mainly in the development of his franchise quarterback.
Kafka Former Player for Reid
If Kafka’s name sounds familiar to you from somewhere other than Kansas City, that may be because you remember him from his days as an NFL quarterback.
As Pelissero wrote, Kafka was a former draft pick of the Reid-led Eagles in 2010. He played in four games as a rookie, completing 11 of 16 pass attempts for 107 yards while also throwing two interceptions, per Pro Football Reference. Before hanging his cleats up in exchange for a clipboard, Kafka spent time with the New England Patriots, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, and Cincinnati Bengals from 2013-15 following his three-year stint with Reid in Philadelphia.