Former Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy appeared on Monday’s episode of The Adam Schefter Podcast, days after leaving the organization to take the same position with the Washington Commanders.
The ESPN insider promptly asked Bieniemy a question on many minds: why leave an organization with two recent Super Bowl wins led by the league’s best quarterback, Patrick Mahomes?
While expressing appreciation to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Bieniemy revealed that he was ready for a new challenge after serving on Kansas City’s staff for a decade — with the first half spent as the team’s running backs coach.
“I was there for ten seasons — and it was an amazing ride. It was an amazing journey. Having an opportunity to work with coach Reid, I have learned so much. On top of that, working in that organization, how you build it from the ground up...It was so good working with those people and having the opportunity to learn from them. We won two Super Bowls. What else is next? I don’t know.
“The possibility of winning a third? It could happen. But I need a new challenge. I need to make sure that I can continue to grow in this industry...Now, it’s time for me to open up my circles of people — and my family — and start teaching these guys and accepting and embracing a new journey. And making sure that I can stay sharp — and do it how I envision.”
Last offseason, there was speculation that Bieniemy might not return to Reid’s staff for the 2022 season. The coach confirmed that he knew this season would be his last in Kansas City — though he reiterated the decision was never forced.
“I guess I can talk about this now. I knew going into the season. Me and coach [Reid], we’ve talked about this for years...He’s always wanted me to stick around. I was always welcomed to come back. But he knows me. Eric is always looking for a challenge. Eric is always looking for a journey that going to help him to seek a different way of doing things. And also help me to grow. And that way, I can help my circle of people to grow and expand, as well. This is something we had discussed. That’s what made this year very special to me...Because it was a hell of a year. It was great challenge, but on top of that, it was a lot of fun. Winning that last game kind of put the icing on the cake. And it was an emotional moment.”
Bieniemy stressed that he put the team before his situation.
“That was something between me and coach. It was nothing that was discussed with any of our other coaches. It was just us. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a distraction for anyone else. No one else needed to know. I just wanted to make sure that we went about our business the way that we do it every single day — without distracting anyone from seeking the prize.”
Over his five seasons as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Bieniemy interviewed for seemingly endless head coaching vacancies while never receiving an offer. Kansas City’s play-calling structure was frequently held against him, with many erroneously minimizing his role in game planning.
Bieniemy discussed the collaborative element among the Chiefs’ offensive coaches and what he can take to Washington.
“The offense was built many moons ago — but every year, it was evolving. The thing that I think we did a great job of was it was a collaborative effort. Everybody had input. That was the thing that made it fun, made it unique, and it kept everybody involved...When you had everybody involving and having ownership, it helped build that chemistry with our staff.
“Obviously, in 2013, coach Reid had a blueprint. ‘This is how we’re going to do it. This is how it’s going to be done.’ So I’m going to come in with that blueprint. And then — as we continue with this blueprint — now it becomes more of a collaborative effort. Now we’re doing it together. But there has to be a blueprint, so we can lay the foundation to start.”
As he starts his new opportunity, he remains hopeful of eventually landing a head coaching job. However, he will always focus first on the task before him — now leading the offense under Commanders head coach Ron Rivera.
“Everyone in this industry wants to be the head guy. Everyone can’t be the head guy — for whatever aspect. But the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do is just work with good people that has a great environment. Having this opportunity to work with coach Ron was great, because I’ve known Ron since the 1999 season...I’ve always been a fan.
“Having that opportunity to work with him when I was a player — but also to get to know him and know the person over the years — why not have that opportunity to work with a man of integrity — a leader of men? The thing that I love about it is he’s going to give me the opportunity to work with the offense — and run it the way I want to run it.”