Bieniemy played nine seasons (1991-99) in NFL at running back for the then-San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Philadelphia Eagles. At the conclusion of his playing days, he began his coaching career at the high school level before moving to his alma mater, the University of Colorado, where he was the running backs coach for two seasons (2002-03). Bieniemy also spent two seasons (2004-05) as the running backs coach at UCLA.
In 2006, Bieniemy began his NFL coaching career as a running backs coach with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the five seasons (2006-10) Bieniemy was on the staff. In 2007, Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor combined to rush for 2,185 yards. Peterson went on to set a Vikings franchise record in 2008 (1,760).
Bieniemy returned to Colorado for two seasons to be the Buffaloes’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach before joining Andy Reid’s staff in 2013. He began his Chiefs tenure as the running backs coach but was promoted to offensive coordinator when Matt Nagy departed to become Chicago Bears head coach in 2018.
Bieniemy is an interesting candidate because he runs one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses. Kansas City led the NFL in scoring in 2018 (35.3 points per game) and was fifth in 2019 (28.2 points per game). During the same time, the Giants offense has been average at best: 23.1 points per game in 2018 (16th overall) and 21.3 points per game in 2019 (18th overall).
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Bieniemy has a fiery style of coaching and demands the utmost respect from his players. During the Chiefs’ Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Bieniemy was seen on the sideline having a heated discussion with tight end Travis Kelce. Kelce shoved Bieniemy during the jawing session but the two were later seen sharing an embrace. Later in the week, Kelce told reporters he loves Bieniemy.
Bieniemy has the perquisite intensity of a coach, especially one who played in the NFL. His players love him for that reason, among others.
“When you get a guy like EB, who puts in the time, who is a great leader of players and men and really control and have a presence in any room that he walks in, you understand why these other teams are looking at him to be their head coach,” Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said this week. “We are obviously focusing on our goal right now, but we know with who he is and how he operates, he’ll have opportunities to go places and have success.”
Bieniemy has certainly made a name for himself as a potential head coaching candidate. Last offseason, he interviewed with the Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He also reportedly turned down an interview request from the Arizona Cardinals.
There are two question marks concerning Bieniemy as a head coach. Some feel it is difficult to get a handle on his production as a coach because of his personnel. The two seasons he has been Chiefs offensive coordinator has been with Mahomes, the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player, behind center.
The other is lack of play calling experience. Reid, who calls plays for the Chiefs, believes this is much ado about nothing.
“It seems like play-calling is always the issue,” Reid said last week. “(Bieniemy) called during the preseason. He helps me with all the set-ups. The only reason I do it is because I enjoy doing it. I don’t enjoy this (speaking with the media), but I enjoy that. It’s one of those things. If that’s the issue, it shouldn’t be an issue.
“Most of all, you’re going to get a leader of men, that’s what he does. He knows football like the back of his hand. He is passionate about it and a great person. I’m a big fan of his. Don’t want to lose him, but I have a feeling that’s going to happen. Somebody is getting a championship-caliber coach there…I never called a play before I became a head coach. Heck, I was a line coach.”