When it comes to Kansas City Chiefs coaches drawing interest from NFL teams in search of a new head coach, Eric Bieniemy has been the headliner for three years running, including five more interviews in the last week alone.
On Monday, another head coaching vacancy popped up, this time in Philadelphia after the Eagles parted ways with Doug Pederson — a former Andy Reid disciple — who led the club to a Super Bowl victory in 2018.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport immediately following the firing, Chiefs passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka is among the list of potential replacements the Eagles could turn to.
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Eagles Attempted to Lure Kafka From Chiefs Last Year
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time Kafka, a six-year NFL veteran and fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2010, has been linked to his former team in a coaching capacity.
The 33-year-old has been the subject of increasing speculation around the league for the better part of the last two offseasons. Most recently on December 27, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Kafka “is coveted and expected to be in the mix for a head-coaching job,” per multiple league sources.
Kafka originally rejoined Reid, his former head coach, in Kansas City in 2017 as a quality control assistant, before being elevated to quarterbacks coach the following season, which saw Patrick Mahomes explode onto the scene and win league MVP.
Since then, Mahomes has continued his on-field dominance, leading the franchise to its first Super Bowl title in 50 years last season, while Kafka has quietly started to create a logjam for Reid and company. Shortly after securing the Lombardi Trophy, the Eagles, who were in search for a new offensive coordinator last offseason, came calling to interview Kafka, a move which Reid and the Chiefs blocked. Instead, the defending champions promoted the up-and-comer to “passing game coordinator” last March.
With Pederson now out in Philly and the prospect of jumping from quarterbacks coach to head coach being a very real possibility, Reid may have a more difficult time holding on to his protege this time around.
Not to mention, two of his other top assistants, special teams coordinator/assistant head coach Dave Toub and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are also considered “dark horse” candidates should the right opportunity arise.
Kafka Discussed His Coaching Aspirations Last Year
The meteoric rises of offensive assistants to NFL head coaching positions have become the norm in recent years, notably with the now-recognizable and successful faces of Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LeFleur and so on. Given the trend, it makes sense that Kafka’s background and early coaching experience would lead him down a similar path.
“I aspire to be an offensive coordinator,” Kafka told reporters leading up to Super Bowl LIV, via The Chicago Sun-Times. “I aspire to be a head coach one day. Those are great things. All those things will happen, will take care of themselves.”
If Philadelphia is serious about bringing the youngster in to lead its football team, Kafka may end up skipping the once-necessary offensive coordinator role altogether.
Prior to leading the Chiefs’ comeback win over the San Francisco 49ers last February, Mahomes also complimented and endorsed Kafka’s coaching style, which he partially attributes to his continued success.
“He expects me to be great every single day,” said Mahomes. “He goes out there and doesn’t let me be satisfied with…having success. He wants to make sure I’m better every single time I’m out there.”
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!