Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been a prime head coach candidate in the NFL for the past two seasons. He’s led the top offense in the NFL during that top span, which is quarterbacked by one of the greatest passers the NFL has ever seen in Patrick Mahomes. He’s also coached one of the greatest tight ends of all-time in Travis Kelce and one of the fastest, deep-threat receivers the league has seen in recent memory in Tyreek Hill.
But Bieniemy still hasn’t been hired as a head coach in the NFL. And that’s why if he wants to lead a team, he may have no choice but to go down to the collegiate ranks.
Talking with people connected to Bieniemy, CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora provided some perspective on how those within the NFL feel Bieniemy wrongfully hasn’t been given the opportunity to rise in the NFL ranks, which is why the rumors linking him to the upcoming head coach vacancy at USC make sense.
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Bieniemy Left With Few Options to Progress
La Canfora lays out Bieniemy’s situation simply: if he wants to progress in the coaching ranks, what other choice does Bieniemy really have?
“‘It’s sad that it would come to that,’ said one prominent member of the NFL coaching community who has ties to Bieniemy, ‘because this is a man who should already be a head coach in our league. But that is the kind of job you would have to entertain, especially with what Eric has been through the past few years. I don’t know how you categorically say no to USC’,” La Canfora wrote.
“‘If things don’t change, you are going to see more and more guys taking that jump,’ said one agent, who represents primarily coaches. ‘You have to ask yourself at some point, what other choice do guys like Eric Bieniemy really have if this is the way things are going in the NFL?’,” he continued.
Diversity an Issue in NFL Head Coach Ranks
As it stands, there are only three Black head coaches in the NFL. They are Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, Miami Dolphins’ Brian Flores and Houston Texans’ David Culley. Tomlin has specifically addressed the the fact that not a single NFL team has offered Bieniemy a head coach position.
“Bieniemy is a real head-scratcher for me,” Tomlin told USA Today in February. “Every offensive coordinator Andy Reid has had in the last 20 years got a head job. One of those guys, Brad Childress, hired me in Minnesota in 2006. Now, Andy has the best offense he’s ever had and (Bieniemy) can’t get a job?”
Bieniemy has been modest in his interpretation of why he hasn’t been hired yet as an NFL head coach.
“The only thing I can do is be my most authentic self, that’s who I am, OK? I can only be me, Bienemy said in February in regards to why he hasn’t be hired as a head coach, via USA Today. “Some team has to want me. On top of that, there has to be some kind of collaboration, making sure the chemistry is a fit. So for whatever reason, that chemistry has not been a fit, there has not been that opportunity to connect. But that’s OK.”
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