When the 2020 NFL regular season is all said and done, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will once again find himself amongst the list of candidates to fill head coaching vacancies across the league.
Bieniemy isn't likely planning out the next stop in his career at the moment, as he’s currently focused on preparing the Chiefs' offense for this weekend's matchup with the Denver Broncos. However, other teams are certainly keeping an eye on what Bieniemy's doing in the meantime.
During his weekly availability on Thursday, Bieniemy made points that show why he’s been a worthy head coach candidate over the last few years without even being pressed on the possibility. It starts with his reputation within the locker room.
“One thing you know as a former player, everybody wants to be perfect, no one wants to make a mistake,” Bieniemy said. "One thing when you’re building relationships with players, as I take a tremendous amount of pride as our coaches do, is that in those critical moments, you've got to remind guys,' don’t take the message and think it’s personal.' No. I’m attacking the issue.”
His approach applies to his connection with star tight Travis Kelce. A little over a year ago, Kelce and Bieniemy had a sideline altercation in what ended up being a 19-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
In the Chiefs’ 26-17 win over the Buffalo Bills on Monday, 365 days after the 2019 incident, the two shared a completely different moment: a hug on the sideline and a pose for a picture after halftime. Kelce had shown emotion after fumbling the ball during the final minutes of the first half.
“Me and Trav have a great relationship, and the beauty of the thing is those things happen, those things do not bother me,” Bieniemy said Thursday. “We keep moving and we keep pushing forward because when it’s all said and done with, it’s all about doing what is best for the organization, doing what is best for the Chiefs.”
Bieniemy became the face of discussions surrounding the Rooney Rule in May when modifications were made to require organizations to interview two minority candidates before filling head coach vacancies.
If a head coaching opportunity arises for Bieniemy in 2021, he’ll have the chance to carry the same culture and offensive success that he’s helped develop in Kansas City to an organization in need of a fresh start.
“Sometimes professional sports have a tendency to think it’s about all the numbers and the egos,” Bieniemy said. “Sometimes I think people forget that we play a team game. This is what has made it special. Our guys are doing to do whatever is needed to go out and win.
“When it’s all said and done with, we’re all about this each and every week: it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the alphabets. The only two alphabets that matter in this industry is a W and the L. Whatever we have to do to get that W, that’s all that matters.”