Super Bowl 2023: Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy reportedly a candidate for Ravens, Commanders OC jobs after denying he took interviews
Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has been a hot head-coaching candidate for years. But now, Bieniemy is also sought after by some teams looking to fill the same position he currently already holds.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Ravens could target Bieniemy for their open offensive coordinator positions. Bieniemy denied he interviewed for either role but confirmed he interviewed for the Indianapolis Colts head coach vacancy.
"As far as the offensive coordinator stuff, right now I am where my feet are," Bieniemy said Monday. "And right now I'm focused on helping us win this game this weekend."
Bieniemy, who signed his second one-year contract extension this past offseason to remain in Kansas City, added that he and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid would have a conversation about remaining on the staff later — certainly after Kansas City takes on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
"I've known Coach Reid for damn near half my life," Bieniemy added. "We'll sit down and have a talk, and we'll talk about everything."
Bieniemy, 53, has been the Chiefs' offensive coordinator since 2018 when Matt Nagy left to become the head coach of the Chicago Bears. Bieniemy served as the team's running backs coach from 2013-2017 after spending time with the Minnesota Vikings and the University of Colorado Buffaloes previously. And over the past five seasons (including 2022), the Chiefs' offense finished no worse than sixth in yards or points. Kansas City finished No. 1 in both yards and points twice during that span: in 2018 and 2022.
So why would Bieniemy leave a role he's flourished in on a team that's dominated during his tenure?
For one, he's been passed over for head coaching roles 16 times since 2019. It's unclear exactly why, but rumors about Bieniemy's lack of play-calling experience as well as questions about his legitimacy in a Reid offense with Patrick Mahomes under center appear to be the main catalysts for this narrative.
However, Bieniemy predecessors, Nagy and Doug Pederson, both earned jobs following their time working under Reid. Even Mike Kafka, who was the Chiefs' quarterbacks coach under Bieniemy for the past four years before becoming the New York Giants offensive coordinator, has also already interviewed with multiple teams for head coaching positions this offseason.
Reid, Mahomes and Chiefs part-owner Clark Hunt have tried to dispel these theories, though. Last year, Reid said he and Bieniemy work on plays together and that Bieniemy "literally calls the plays in there." Mahomes said (as recently as Monday's Opening Night) it's "past deserved" that Bieniemy gets a head coaching job. Hunt added that Bieniemy would "make an awesome head coach in the NFL" and that he's not surprised teams are interested in him to run their offense.
Despite his success in Kansas City, Bieniemy could just be looking to prove to other teams he can be successful away from Reid, Mahomes and the Chiefs, too. That's essentially what Matt LaFleur did when he left his role as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator for the same position with the Tennessee Titans in 2018. LaFleur had been connected to offensive play-calling gurus Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay throughout his NFL coaching career, but he was hired to be the head coach of the Green Bay Packers the year after he left McVay's Rams staff when he assumed play-calling responsibilities with the Titans.
Bieniemy might want something similar for his own personal resume as he continues his journey to becoming a head coach.
In any event, Bieniemy's next step won't be known until after the Super Bowl. It appears he will likely have choices, at least.