KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eric Bieniemy acknowledged his disappointment over failing to get an NFL head-coaching job despite multiple interviews in recent seasons.
“In reality it’s tough,” said Bieniemy, the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs since 2018. “But I don’t let that keep me from doing what I do. I’m still alive, I’m breathing and I have an opportunity to work for a championship team. That’s the beauty of it.
“I don’t want any pity. This is who I am. I’m going to keep pushing, keep knocking because when it’s all said and done with, I know who I am and I am comfortable with the person I’m striving to be.”
Being the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs and coach Andy Reid has been a ticket to an NFL head-coaching job for others. Bieniemy’s two predecessors in the job, Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy, became head coaches, Pederson with the Philadelphia Eagles and Nagy with the Chicago Bears.
Pederson is now the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nagy was fired this past winter and returned to the Chiefs as quarterbacks coach.
Bieniemy hasn’t had the same success at landing a job even though the Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback have been among the NFL’s highest-scoring teams and participated in each of the past four AFC Championship Games. The Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV after the 2019 season.
“I’ve just got to go get it,” Bieniemy said when asked what he needs to do to land a head-coaching position. “I’m not seeking any comfort. I haven’t gotten it for whatever reason. It [doesn’t] matter. I’m going to keep knocking on that door and I’m going to keep working my ass off to make sure that it happens. My job this year is to make sure we take care of business that needs to be taken care of today to help us achieve the goal down the road. And then it’s time for me when it’s presented to just go and get the job.
“You can always be better. I’m always going to take a look at myself first. I always make sure that I’m checking everything and checking every box. … Personally I have to make sure that I’m always evolving because if you’re not evolving you become like the dinosaurs and you’re extinct.”
Bieniemy, who is Black, participated in the NFL’s recent minority accelerator program for coaches and front-office personnel. He said the program would help him and other minority candidates get head-coaching jobs.
“I actually thought the league did an outstanding job,” Bieniemy said. “The thing that we don’t get the luxury of is having an opportunity to deal with the Tim Terrys [the Chiefs’ senior director of pro personnel, who also participated], having an opportunity to deal with the next Brett Veach, the next Ryan Poles. That was exciting because now you get to meet the people behind the scenes who make things work in personnel.
“On top of that, just sitting there having a conversation with owners, just an everyday conversation, it just breaks down barriers. It breaks down walls when you can sit there, look someone in the eye and have a legit conversation with them just about life. It was more of people in the industry like myself having an opportunity to interact and understand how people view things when they’re going through that interview process.
“It’s out of a business setting. It’s a personal setting where you get to know people and I think that’s important because everybody doesn’t know Eric Bieniemy.”