One year ago Tuesday, it was third-and-15.
Trailing 20-10 with 7:13 left in Super Bowl LIV, the Kansas City Chiefs were running out of chances. On the previous play, the San Francisco 49ers had successfully challenged a completion to wide receiver Tyreek Hill that would have given the Chiefs a first-and-10 at the San Francisco 48-yard line.
While officials mulled over the replay, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes came to the sideline to discuss the situation with offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, uttering what would become some of the most famous words in Chiefs history:
“Do we have time to run Wasp?” asked Mahomes.
Among Chiefs fans, the video clip of this moment — in which we can only hear Bieniemy and Mahomes speaking — has become as hotly debated as the Zapruder film. Does it prove that Andy Reid calls all the Chiefs’ plays?
But in Monday’s “Football Morning in America” column, NBC Sports’ Peter King told Bieniemy’s side of the story.
“Me and Coach Reid, we’re talking on the headsets,” Bieniemy said. “We’re talking about different plays. Coach is giving me a play, a suggestion. I’m talking to Pat, and Pat says, ‘Hey, you know what? Do we have time to run Wasp?’ I said on the headset, ‘Coach, he likes Wasp.’ And coach is like, ‘Well hell, if he likes Wasp, let’s run it.’”
In Bieniemy’s account, Reid is making a suggestion to him before Mahomes speaks. While this doesn’t disprove that Reid has final approval on all offensive plays, it does imply a more open play-calling conversation between the head coach and his coordinator than many fans assume.
Bieniemy shared more about the sideline moment.
“I say to Pat, ‘Look, you got it. We have time. You just make it happen.’ That’s the great thing about Pat. When Pat wants to run something, we don’t restrict him from anything, but when you instill that confidence in your players, and you give him that ability to suggest a play like that, you know that he’s gonna find a way to make it happen.”
And Mahomes did exactly that, completing a 44-yard pass to a wide-open Hill to put the Chiefs at the 20-yard line, setting up the first of three consecutive touchdowns that gave the Chiefs their first championship in 50 years.
Whether he has play-calling skills or not, Bieniemy is still without a head coaching job after what is now three offseason cycles where he has been viewed as one of the leading candidates to get one. But for now, he has other worries — especially the Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary that his offense will face in Super Bowl LV this Sunday night. He told King that they are a group with which to be reckoned.
“Did you watch them in Green Bay? Did you see that secondary?” Bieniemy said with an edge in his voice. “All I gotta do is turn on the tape. It’s a different defense, to me. The secondary is playing exceptional football, creating turnovers, playing physical.”
Read King’s full “FMIA” column here.