Eric Bieniemy finds himself in the exact same situation as he did a season ago. The offensive coordinator and his Kansas City Chiefs are about to embark on a Super Bowl bid and are also looking to become the first team in nearly two decades to repeat as champions. Not too shabby, right? Well, that's only one side of the coin for Bieniemy and it's admittedly the shiniest. Similar to last year, the 51-year-old is also on the outside looking in on taking that next step in his career and becoming a head coach. Despite interviewing for six openings around the league during this cycle, clubs decided to go in a different direction away from Bieniemy.
The OC noted on Tuesday that despite those half-dozen interviews this year and multiple in 2020, things just haven't aligned for whatever reason. He acknowledged that both "the job and the person have to connect" and that apparently hasn't happened to this point, despite his initial hopes. While he may not be a head coach in 2021, Bieniemy is dealing with that disappointment by zeroing in on helping the Chiefs take down the Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.
"We've had a great deal of success here that's placed me in the situation where I've been recognized to interview for some jobs," Bieniemy said, via ESPN. "Those interviews, for whatever reason, I have not been hired, which is OK because at the end of the day I still have an opportunity to go out there and help our team pursue and obtain our goal.
"Yes, there is a focal point where you are focused on that interview. But once that interview is over, it's time to turn the page. I can't sit here and dwell in pity because when all is said and done with I have a responsibility to the Kansas City Chiefs ... to make sure that we're mentally and physically ready to go come game day. That's who I am, and that's how I operate.
"I learned a long time ago how to persevere through adversity. The beauty of it is not so much that I have to persevere, because that's going to take care of itself. It's making sure that whatever is taking place with Eric Bieniemy isn't becoming a distraction in us pursuing our dreams and our goals."
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he lobbied for Bieniemy throughout the hiring process and now looks forward to hearing why he ultimately wasn't picked up by another club. Reid also added that whoever does eventually land Bieniemy is getting one heck of a coach.
"Well, I'll probably have more time to do that, the find-out part, later here once we get through this game," Reid said Tuesday. "But I did have the opportunity to talk to a lot of the either owners or general managers that worked to interview him, presidents and so on. So, I'll be curious to hear their comments about how he did or why he wasn't picked.
"Eric Bieniemy works his tail off and he is relentless in studying the game. He's relentless in studying what would be his plan as a head football coach. This guy doesn't miss a beat, and he was that way as a player, he's been that way as a coach, whether it was coaching the running backs or now working the offense as a whole as a coordinator. So, I don't understand everything, I'm not an owner, I don't sit in those meetings to interview head coaches, but I would just tell you that whoever gets him whenever they get him will be very, very lucky."
Even Patrick Mahomes sang Bieniemy's praises on Tuesday saying that "he gives me every single tool that is needed" in terms of making sure he is protected.
"I think a big thing with him and what feeds into this team especially on a year like this year, he always preaches to control what you can control and that's your attitude, your work ethic every single day," said Mahomes. "That's how we've been. Obviously, you know he's disappointed he didn't get the opportunity to become a head coach after this season, but he knows that all he can do is make himself and this team better every single day. He comes with that mindset every single day and it helps us be the best team that we can possibly be."
Bieniemy did add that he wouldn't mind seeing the NFL pushing the hiring cycle to after the Super Bowl, which could help candidates who are currently in the postseason and limited to how much exposure they get during that hiring process as opposed to other coaches.