In the NFL, it is extremely common for the offensive coordinator of one of the league’s best offenses to quickly land head coaching opportunities. Eric Bieniemy has held that role with the Kansas City Chiefs since 2018, helping Andy Reid engineer one of the greatest offenses the league has ever seen. One would imagine that offense-minded teams with openings at head coach, like the Atlanta Falcons, would be all over him.
The Chiefs OC before Bieniemy, Matt Nagy, was OC for two years, and called plays for the last chunk of games of the 2017 season. He was hired as Chicago Bears head coach after that season. Bieniemy has received interest in each of the last two offseasons, and has interviewed for jobs this year, as the Chiefs look to win back-to-back Super Bowls. It does not currently look like a guarantee that he’ll land a job, even with the praise of people who work with him like Reid and Patrick Mahomes.
Star quarterback Deshaun Watson reportedly stumped for Bieniemy to get a serious look to be his new head coach with the Houston Texans. The team hasn’t tried to interview him. According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, in a recent radio interview with The A Team w/ Wexler & Clanton, Bieniemy’s biggest issue is that he just isn’t interviewing well, and that has stifled teams’ interest given the scuttlebutt around the NFL.
“I’m going to be honest, very transparent. Eric is not interviewing very well with other teams, and (the Texans) haven’t been interested in Eric through the entire process,” Wilson said. “The information that they have is that he’s just not the guy they want. They’re not interested. And I know that sounds really strange with people, but (Chiefs quarterbacks coach) Mike Kafka has more to do with some of the stuff wit Patrick Mahomes than Eric Bieniemy. And the thing is, well how can everybody write all this good stuff about him? The fact of the matter is, that’s the agenda. That’s what’s being pushed because people want him to get a job. Andy Reid wants him to get a job. But he hasn’t interviewed well, and it’s just a lack of stuff with the offense. And EB, he can do better in selling himself more. And I don’t think it has anything to do with race, or anything like that. I think it’s just these teams, they don’t want him.”
— SportsTalk 790 (@SportsTalk790) January 9, 2021
Wilson said that the Texans aren’t alone in their takeaway on Bienemy. He says that the Atlanta Falcons would love to hire a Black coach, but Bienemy just didn’t interview well.
“I think with the Atlanta interview, they literally want to hire a Black coach. They would love for him to have crushed the interview. He did not crush the interview. And teams really care about these interviews… And it’s not like, any smoking gun, or skeletons in the closet… He’s a good family man, he’s a good guy, and he’s a good coach. But the teams have the right to hire whomever they want.”
Wilson’s report has not gone over well elsewhere in the NFL. NFL.com’s Steve Wyche says that the Falcons are “furious” that those reports emerged, and that he is “very much in the mix” for the job:
Bieniemy, who is considered one of the top head-coaching candidates and who has interviewed for multiple head-coaching openings, “prepared, knew everything about the team, had a great plan and is a bona fide candidate,” the source said.
The source said Falcons officials are furious about reports that Bieniemy, 51, did not interview well and “absolutely refute” those reports.
He’s not alone there. Others have also hit back against the building narrative around the Chiefs assistant.
The thing that’s so appalling here is that there appears to have been no attempt to get a comment from the Falcons. I spoke this morning to a Falcons official involved in the interview process, who said of the story: “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 9, 2021
Don’t waste your time with the Eric Bieniemy didn’t crush his interview with the #Falcons reports. It’s not accurate. Now, enjoy Super Wildcard Weekend.
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) January 9, 2021
At this point, it is kind of impossible to know the truth about the Atlanta Falcons interview, or the agendas behind all of these reports, pro- and anti-Bieniemy here. What is clear: he is the second-highest ranking coach in one of the best offenses we have ever seen, he has the utmost respect of his legendary head coach at MVP quarterback, and he very well may win a second-straight Super Bowl this year.
Whether or not he interviews well, you’d have to imagine that some team would want to see if he can bring some of that Chiefs magic to their franchise.