Eric Bieniemy is finalizing a deal to leave the Kansas City Chiefs to become the offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Bieniemy spent the last five seasons as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, helping Patrick Mahomes blossom into a two-time MVP and five-time Pro Bowler. He also helped lead Kansas City to three Super Bowl appearances and two victories, most recently a 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite his success, Bieniemy was never hired to be a head coach even after his two Chiefs’ predecessors – Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy – both got top jobs after their respective stints under Andy Reid. Bieniemy has interviewed with half of the league’s clubs since 2019, including a 2023 interview with the Indianapolis Colts. But each time he was passed over.
This comes even after his offense outclassed the offense led by newly hired Colts head coach Shane Steichen and flooded the defense led by now-Arizona Cardinals head coach Jonathan Gannon – both in Super Bowl LVII. While there has been much speculation about Bieniemy’s role in Reid’s offense — both as a play-caller and strategist — Chiefs backup quarterback Chad Henne told The Athletic that it was Bieniemy who engineered the two second-half red-zone touchdowns that helped Kansas City to come back. to beat the Eagles.
“(Bieniemy) put it on tape and said, ‘Hey, like, if they do this, this guy’s wide open. It’s man (coverage),'” Henne said. “They’re just trying to protect against the jet sweep and trying to bubble over the top and get an extra player (on the other side of the court). But we faked the jet twice and they didn’t get it.”
Mahomes also added that Bieniemy made running back Jerick McKinnon go down in bounds instead of scoring late in the game to set up Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal.
“I want to give credit to Eric Bieniemy,” Mahomes said, “because even though we sometimes get tired of them talking about these moments, they always seem to happen in the biggest games. And he makes sure we go through the details of them every single week.”
Now, Bieniemy will likely take full control of the Commanders’ offense under head coach Ron Rivera, who has a background in defense. Washington isn’t loaded with talent on offense, but receivers Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel, in addition to fullbacks Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson out of the backfield, are all exciting playmakers.
However, the quarterback position will be the most important question to answer. Sam Howell, the team’s fifth-round pick in 2022, could earn the starting job, but the Commanders could also acquire a more proven veteran this offseason in free agency or via a trade.
Bieniemy’s fingerprints will likely be all over everything Washington does in 2023, perhaps reshaping the narrative surrounding his viability as an NFL head coach sooner rather than later.