The smoke had been there since last week — continuing this week as the Kansas City Chiefs marched to Union Station as part of their Super Bowl LVII championship parade.
On Friday, finally, the fire.
The #Commanders and Eric Bieniemy agreed to terms on a multiyear deal as their assistant head coach/offensive coordinator, his agent Jason Fletcher tells me.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 17, 2023
KC wanted him back. But Bieniemy got an upgraded title, a chance to build his staff and a big commitment. pic.twitter.com/7FRR3a6qRW
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, now-former Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will leave the organization after 10 seasons to become the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Washington Commanders, working under head coach Ron Rivera. The deal is complete, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter added it comes with “promotion in title, contractual structure, multi-year and annual pay raise.”
To this point, quarterback Patrick Mahomes had only worked with one coordinator, Bieniemy, en route to two MVP seasons (2018, 2022), two Super Bowl MVPs and two Super Bowl championships.
The 53-year-old Bieniemy joined head coach Andy Reid’s staff as the Chiefs running backs coach when Reid took over in 2013. Bieniemy had previously spent time with the Minnesota Vikings (2006-10) in the same role and the University of Colorado (2011-12), his alma mater, as its offensive coordinator.
Under Bieniemy, running back Kareem Hunt won the league’s 2017 rushing title as a rookie. In 2014, Bieninemy coached Jamaal Charles to his fifth 1,000-yard season, and Charles finished his career as the franchise’s rushing leader (7,260). In 2013, Charles led the NFL in touchdowns (19) and ranked second in yards from scrimmage (1,980).
Bieniemy was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2018 as Matt Nagy became head coach of the Chicago Bears. Working with Reid and Mahomes, Bieniemy helped a Chiefs offense finish in the top six in terms of points per game every year he was a coordinator.
One of the lasting memories of his Kansas City tenure will be the NFL Films clip from Super Bowl LIV, where he and Mahomes are heard discussing the game-changing play, “2-3 Jet Chip Wasp.”
"Do we have time to run Wasp?"— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) February 2, 2023
Three years ago today, @PatrickMahomes changed his legacy with one Super play. pic.twitter.com/dxRBKmhhoW
Bieniemy received countless head coaching interviews over the past several offseasons, but none ever panned out to a job offer, leading him to accept the Washington coordinator job on Friday. The prevailing thought has been that Bieniemy could make an offense his own out of Reid’s shadow and under a defensive head coach (Rivera).
That’s a tough pill to swallow, considering previous Reid offensive coordinators (such as Nagy and now-Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson) have received opportunities to lead a program without having to make a lateral move.
Nagy, who returned as quarterbacks coach in 2022, is expected to take back over as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, a role he held for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.