Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy spoke to the media on Thursday — just as he and his fellow coordinators typically do on regular-season Thursdays.
But it was also the first time reporters have had the opportunity to question Bieniemy since ”The Discussion” between the coordinator and quarterback Patrick Mahomes as the team was headed to the halftime locker room during Sunday’s 20-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
“Here’s what I love about Pat: [he] is a competitor,” began Bieniemy. “You guys have heard what I’ve said in the past about him. You want him that way. That’s how you want [your quarterback]. You want to finish every drive in the end zone with a score.
“At that particular time — as a staff — we decided, ‘You know what? We’re getting the ball to start the second half off, so we just want to take a knee.’ So obviously, Pat — being the competitor that he is — wasn’t ready to hear that.”
To this point, Bieniemy’s account differs from head coach Andy Reid’s description of the incident on Monday in just one way: Reid said that the decision to take a knee had been his, while Bieniemy said that it was a staff decision over the headset. But from that point, Bieniemy’s version of events returned to matching Reid’s story.
“At that particular time, I was just trying to calm the storm,” he recalled.
And then Bieniemy smiled as he added a new wrinkle to the story.
“I know how I am. You guys have seen me erupt. If it had been a true eruption,” he chuckled, “I think you guys would have recognized it.”
And it is true that during practice sessions, reporters have often witnessed the coordinator lose his temper and scream at players, unleashing a torrent of expletives. But Bieniemy’s demeanor (as caught by the CBS cameras on Sunday) was nothing like one of those incidents. Just as he can sometimes be consumed by raw emotion, Bieniemy expects (and accepts) it in his players.
“One thing you guys gotta notice about me: I have no problem with players getting emotional — and feeling how they feel, OK?” explained the coordinator. “I embrace that. I embrace the energy and emotion that they bring — because the thing that you don’t want to do is take that away.
“Now... could it be handled a little bit differently and professionally? Yes. But in that heat — in the moment — you want your guys to be guys that want to go out and be the very best, who want to come away victorious by any means necessary.”
And then Bieniemy reached what he clearly considered to be the heart of the whole matter.
“So the exchange that we had?” he asked. “Who cares? It really doesn’t matter. Because when it’s all said and done with, we’re going to talk a minute or two later — and talk about exactly what we need to do. So there is no personal issue. You just keep it moving forward.”