And while Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid deserves his due, the architect of this unorthodox playground that’s allowed Mahomes, and in turn the rest of the Chiefs offense, to flourish, is none other than a Black man.
His name is Eric Bieniemy.
Following the conclusion of this NFL regular season, teams throughout the league conducted their annual house cleaning and rid themselves of underperforming head coaches. Among them, the Falcons extracted the cancerous tumor that was Dan Quinn, the Jaguars prepared for the imminent arrival of their savior, Trevor Lawrence, and Adam Gase was predictably exiled from the kingdom of New York City.
It was a foregone conclusion that with a treasure trove of head coaching vacancies available that Bieniemy—who couldn’t have been any hotter of a head coaching candidate—would be dipping out on the Chiefs in order to embark on his career as an NFL head coach. But after interviewing for almost every single head coaching gig available, the 51-year-old remains exactly where white owners and general managers believe he belongs: on the outside looking in.
And as less qualified, unseasoned candidates continue to leapfrog the Super Bowl champion offensive coordinator for head coaching gigs, more and more folks are taking to Twitter to call out the NFL’s bullshit.
Take for instance, the Eagles’ recent decision to hire former Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni. One excuse that Bieniemy detractors love to deploy is that Andy Reid is the true overlord who calls the plays. True as that may be, that somehow doesn’t seem to stop other
white and less qualified offensive coordinators from getting gigs.
There’s also the rumor that Bieniemy “doesn’t interview well,” which we all know is coded language for being perceived as “unrelatable” or just another bullshit excuse not to hire a Black coach.
It should also be noted that the only reason Bieniemy even got an interview with the Texans was to appease franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, who’s embroiled in a bitter standoff with the organization and is expected to demand a trade any day now. And what is one of Watson’s laundry list of gripes with the team? That they didn’t even consider Bieniemy to be a viable head coaching candidate in the first place. This despite the fact that he’s won a Super Bowl and in the last three years, the Chiefs’ total offense has ranked 1st in the league twice. In 2019, a season in which Mahomes missed two games, the team finished 6th.
But this man doesn’t deserve an interview?!
Even former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is fed up. On a recent episode of the Yahoo Sports NFL Podcast he openly questioned how in the hell Bieniemy is still without a head coaching offer.
“I think it’s ridiculous that he still hasn’t been hired yet,” Smith said. “Here’s a guy who had played for a long time, was a great teacher, and commanded respect because he gave respect.”
At this point, it’s painfully obvious that despite a bevy of experience, invaluable co-signs, championship pedigree, and a resume that less qualified coaches—who still getting head coaching offers anyway—would kill for, Bieniemy possesses a single trait that NFL organizations want absolutely no parts of despite the NFL’s tepid insistence that Black Lives Matter: he’s still a nigga.
And for that reason and that reason alone, it’s very likely that another overqualified Black man will never become an NFL head coach.
Or as The Root’s Managing Editor Genetta Adams so eloquently stated, it will always be “platitudes instead of paychecks.”