The most recent NFL head-coaching cycle notably ended without longtime Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy landing a job. During his introductory news conference as the Washington Commanders' offensive coordinator/assistant head coach, Bieniemy didn't dwell on where he could go from there.
"Being a head coach right now is not in my thought process," he said. "I live in the moment. I’ve got to be where my feet are. Right now my feet are planted right here."
After five years as the OC in Kansas City, Bieniemy was often heralded as a significant part of the Chiefs' offensive success. When that wasn't enough to land him a head coaching job, some wondered if he viewed the Commanders position as his best shot at eventually running his own team. According to the 53-year-old, he's not trying to alter fate.
"Right now I’m the offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders,” Bieniemy said. “Being a head coach, if that’s to happen, it will take care of itself. We’ve had a great deal of success. We went to five straight AFC championship games, three out of four Super Bowls, two out of those we won. Being a head coach, it hasn’t happened, it’s not anything that’s going to impact me moving forward because the only thing I need to be concerned with is what’s important today."
Bieniemy does seem excited about the new beginning. "It’s been an amazing journey getting to this point. But now it’s time for a new challenge," he said. "Looking at these guys up front [several Commanders players in the front row], Eric Bieniemy’s fired up."
He reportedly made a few more third-person references to himself, because why not? That's also the answer he gave when asked about his decision to accept the new job. “Why not Washington?" Bieniemy asked. "I have no doubt what they’re building here. I’ve never backed down from a challenge.”
One challenge that Bieniemy is not concerned with is the team's ownership uncertainty. He told reporters that he spoke with Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and team president Jason Wright. "That's not my job title. Those guys will take care of that," he said.
Patrick Mahomes: Bieniemy is 'one of the greatest coaches of all time'
During his inaugural media availability in Washington, Bieniemy was also asked his thoughts about former Kansas City running back LeSean McCoy's critical Monday comments.
"What's his value? What makes him a good offensive coordinator?" McCoy asked (via FS1). "The problem is, a lot of these people that go on social media, 'He should be the guy for the job,' they haven't played there. I've been in the rooms where he's coaching and he has nothing to do with the pass game at all. When the plays are designed, that's Andy Reid."
McCoy doubled down by posting his comments on social media. The caption: "I wish him WELL but Washington don’t let the chiefs SUCCESS or coaching titles fool y’all… the traits or skills you need to be a good coordinator I haven’t seen or WITNESSED it …"
Thursday, Bieniemy gave a diplomatic response. "Everyone's entitled to their own comments and how they feel," he said. "My job is to focus on the now. Everything outside of these walls has no impact on Eric Bienemy going forward."
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took to social media to applaud his former coach. "There should be no questions on how great of a man/coach Coach Bienemy is," Mahomes wrote on Twitter. "His leadership has a direct impact on the player/person i am today! 10+ years learning under one of the greatest coaches of all time.. and i cannot wait for him to continue to prove doubters wrong!"
There should be no questions on how great of a man/coach Coach Bienemy is. His leadership has a direct impact on the player/person i am today! 10+ years learning under one of the greatest coaches of all time.. and i cannot wait for him to continue to prove doubters wrong! 💪🏽 https://t.co/hyCo3Bly9E
— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) February 23, 2023