Rob Maaddi, FISM News
Eric Bieniemy takes a positive approach to interviewing for NFL head coach openings.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator hasn’t landed the top job despite interviewing 15 times with 14 NFL teams over the past four years. He’s still hoping for an opportunity to be a head coach.
“Sometimes the job is not right for us and it may not be the time, but that’s OK,” Bieniemy said.
Our job is to pursue a championship so my job is to make the very most of this. And then when that opportunity comes around again, I guarantee you I’m going to be better because of the experiences that I’ve had. And that’s what I’m looking forward to so we can’t sit around and wallow in pity.
The 53-year-old Bieniemy, a former NFL running back, views interviews as learning opportunities.
“I’ve been in enough interviews to know that there’s always something to learn,” he said. “The beauty of being in the position that I’ve been in is I’ve seen how a lot of organizations are run. And, I think having that diversity of talking to all these different organizations, it just gives me a better viewpoint of how I should establish myself, how I should go into this particular interview with this particular game plan or how to attack it, take more of a business approach when sitting in that chair.
But the beauty of it is this, you got to keep evaluating yourself first, and then always reassess the things that you need to do. And yes, feedback is always welcome. Sometimes you get the proper feedback if you’re seeking it. So, certain teams are more upfront than others. But when it’s all said and done, it really doesn’t matter, because I’m the one that has to look myself in the mirror. I have to do better and I have to pursue that job, and I’m going to continue investing in myself.
Bieniemy has worked under Chiefs coach Andy Reid since 2013. He began his tenure as running backs coach and became the offensive coordinator in 2018. That season, the Chiefs scored the third-most points (565) in NFL history and quarterback Patrick Mahomes was NFL MVP. They won the Super Bowl the following year.
Still, Bieniemy sees other coaches with less impressive resumes get a shot over him.
“I’m very proud that I’ve had the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Bieniemy said. “You want to come away with the job, but you still got to feel proud and stand tall that you were given that opportunity. But also realizing that it’s not just about the opportunity, it’s how you learn from that particular situation that you’ve been given. I’ve made it a point to just digest all the information, [and] go back through all my notes. I always want to reevaluate myself first. Yes, it hasn’t happened, but that’s not going to be a downfall to me not pursuing my dreams or my goals.
“When it’s all said and done, Eric Bieniemy is going to continue to be Eric Bieniemy. I’m going to be the best offensive coordinator that I can possibly be. I’m going to be the best husband I can be, the best father. And I will continue expanding my horizons and making sure that when the next hiring process comes around, I will give myself a better opportunity to go and pursue the job that wants to pursue me.”
Bieniemy had six interviews after the 2020 season but only two in the past hiring cycle. Though he aspires to become a head coach, he’s also working to help other young coaches advance their careers. Bieniemy was among the featured speakers at the NFL Quarterback Coaching Summit in June.
“The thing you want to do when you’re in that particular environment, you want to share all the knowledge that you have and the wisdom and insight just so those guys are prepared for those moments,” Bieniemy said.