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Why Eric Bieniemy leaving Chiefs for Commanders would help him escape Andy Reid’s shadow, become an NFL head coach

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Eric Bieniemy has been the offensive coordinator behind the NFL’s No. 1 scoring offense for three of his five years in Kansas City.

It now appears he’s going to try his coaching skills with a new team.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Friday Bieniemy was likely to become the next offensive coordinator for the Commanders, ending his 10-year run with the Chiefs that included being the team’s offensive coordinator for the past five seasons.

The decision on face value might seem a bit puzzling. Bieniemy has coached Patrick Mahomes throughout the quarterback’s entire career and has enjoyed a run that has featured three Super Bowl appearances and two rings. In leaving for the same position with the Commanders, he would join a team with a major question mark at quarterback and find himself in a division where all three of Washington’s foes reached the playoffs in 2022.

But the decision to leave Andy Reid and Mahomes makes sense for someone looking to become a head coach at some point in the NFL. Here’s why he would make the decision to move on.

MORE: Why Bieniemy deserves credit for ‘Corn Dog Shuttle’ calls that helped win Super Bowl 57

Why Eric Bieniemy might leave Chiefs for Commanders

When people talk about the Chiefs, the narrative is always about Reid and Mahomes. Reid has established in his Hall of Fame career that he is one of the NFL’s brightest offensive minds. Mahomes, already well on his way to joining his coach in Canton, is the best quarterback of his generation, and possibly the most talented to ever play the position.

It’s easy, then, for Bieniemy to be lost in the shuffle. Reid is the offensive play-caller in Kansas City, and while Bieniemy has played an integral role in guiding the offense, his contributions have been overshadowed by Reid and Mahomes. And after numerous interviews for head coaching positions without an offer the last few years, it seems clear other organizations don’t fully believe in Bieniemy’s ability to run a team.

Even Reid seemed to acknowledge that his right-hand man might need a change of scenery in order to get his shot at becoming a head coach.

“Eric Bieniemy has been tremendous for us, and I think he’s tremendous for the National Football League,” Reid said, according to “I’m hoping he has an opportunity to go somewhere and do his thing, where he can run the show and be Eric Bieniemy.”

BENDER: Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid among biggest winners of Super Bowl 57

Reid has been outspoken in his belief that Bieniemy deserves a head-coaching gig in the NFL. He told reporters before the Chiefs’ 2022 playoff run that he thought the 2022 offseason coaching cycle would be the one in which Bieniemy was hired.

“It disappoints me that somebody hasn’t hired him,” Reid said, according to KSHB Kansas City. “Because he’s so good.”

In part, the track record for offensive coaches under Reid who have gone on to become head coaches hurts Bieniemy. According to Pro Football Reference, there have been six defensive coaches and five offensive coaches under Reid who went on to become head coaches. Here’s how they’ve fared:

Coach Role under Reid Head coaching job Years coached Record
Todd Bowles Eagles secondary/interim defensive coordinator Jets/Buccaneers 2015-18/ 2022-present 34-50
Leslie Frazier Eagles defensive backs Vikings 2010-13 21-32-1
Ron Rivera Eagles linebackers Panthers/Commanders 2011-19/ 2020-present 98-90-2
John Harbaugh Eagles special teams coordinator/defensive backs Ravens 2008-present 147-95
Sean McDermott Eagles defensive coach/coordinator Bills 2017-present 62-35
Steve Spagnuolo Eagles defensive coach Rams/Giants (interim) 2009-11/2017 11-41
Brad Childress Eagles offensive coordinator Vikings 2006-10 39-35
Matt Nagy Eagles offensive coach/Chiefs offensive coordinator Bears 2018-21 34-31
Doug Pederson Eagles offensive coach/Chiefs offensive coordinator Eagles/Jaguars 2016-20/2022-present 51-45-1
Pat Shurmur Eagles offensive coordinator Browns/Eagles (interim)/Giants 2011-12/2015/2018-19 19-46
David Culley Eagles/Chiefs wide receivers coach Texans 2021 4-13

MORE: Why Nick Sirianni isn’t part of Reid’s coaching tree

Of Reid’s coaching tree, four of the defensive coaches are still active, while only Doug Pederson remains active among the offensive-minded head coaches. Defensive coaches have collectively led a team for 47 seasons, while offensive coaches have combined for just 21. Defensive coaches from Reid also have an all-time record of 373-343-3 compared to a record of 147-170-1 from the offensive side.

In Washington, Bieniemy would have the chance to be in full control of the offense under a defensive-minded head coach (and former Reid assistant) in Ron Rivera. Bieniemy would also have the benefit of likely facing little scrutiny in his first season under a coach who is slowly finding himself on the hot seat and with an offense that is likely to be led by Sam Howell, who has started one game and was a fifth-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.

If Bieniemy is able to turn around the offense in Washington in his first season, it could greatly improve his stock in the eyes of other teams to see him find success outside of Reid and Mahomes. If things don’t work out as well in Washington, there is a chance Rivera could find himself a casualty of a tumultuous organization looking for a wave of changes, and Bieniemy could be in line to succeed him.


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