Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s stance on the Rooney Rule remains the same after the NFL ratified amendments to the policy.
The league adjusted the Rooney Rule on May 18, including an amendment that requires organizations to interview two minority coaches during a head coaching search. Teams only needed a single minority candidate in the previous arrangement.
Bieniemy discussed the adjustment in a video conference with the media on Tuesday. Bieniemy has interviewed with multiple teams in the last two offseasons but has not been publicly offered any of the jobs.
“My overall reaction is it’s going to remain the same,” Bieniemy said. “I am blessed and fortunate to be placed in this opportunity and be given this situation. One thing as a coach, you always want to be judged based off your own merit. At the end of the day, the best coach is going to be hired. That’s what I do. I coach football. When it’s all said and done with, I can’t control all the controllers. The only thing I can control is where we are at right now and what we’re doing.”
Bieniemy arrived in Kansas City as a running backs coach in 2013, the Chiefs' first season under Head Coach Andy Reid. He served under offensive coordinators Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy before becoming the offensive coordinator in 2018.
Pederson and Nagy are amongst a tree of 10 Reid assistants who have become NFL head coaches.
Reid has endorsed Bieniemy’s quest to become a head coach publicly and touched on the Rooney Rule amendment in a teleconference on Friday.
“Listen, I think anything that helps with opportunity, I’m good for, good with, as long as it doesn’t put that person in a bind or disadvantage coming in,” Reid said. “I think, in Eric’s situation, and everybody that interviews, you’re in there for only a couple of hours with the owners, so do they really get to know you in that time… The more you’re with Eric Bieniemy, the more you appreciate him and understand him and know he is a great leader and man.”
The expansion of the Rooney Rule also requires organizations to interview at least one external minority candidate for any coordinator, general manager or senior-level position.
Teams can no longer block assistant coaches and executives from interviewing with another team as well.
Bieniemy said these adjustments allow more chances for coaches to advance themselves.
“I think one thing that popped up was some coaches now, assistant coaches, are going to have the opportunity to interview,” Bieniemy said. “I think that’s huge. That’s huge across the board. Regardless of skin color, it doesn’t make a difference. Now, you’re going to get the opportunity to interview the best football coach for that particular position. I think one thing is, that with all of this discussion being brought to the table that just opened up different doors for so many different people.”
Washington Redskins head coach Ron Rivera, who was fired by the Carolina Panthers in December, was the only minority candidate hired to fill five openings following the 2019 regular season.
Rivera is one of four minority head coaches in the NFL, five fewer than the league had before the 2018 season began.