The last two seasons have served as de facto infomercials for Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
Bieniemy, a former NFL running back, is a rising star in coaching circles. In his third year as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator, Bieniemy has drawn rave reviews for his work with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Many, especially in the media, have called for an NFL team to hire Bieniemy as a head coach. Teams may want to use caution and revisit Bieniemy’s lengthy rap sheet, including an incident involving a woman, before giving him the keys to lead a franchise.
Eric Bieniemy is the Chiefs’ star offensive coordinator
Andy Reid is still reaping the benefits of promoting Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator in 2018.
Led by all-world quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City has spent the last three years shredding opposing defenses. The Chiefs won Super Bowl 54 and ended the 2020 season at 14-2.
Bieniemy, 51, has been a pivotal reason why the Chiefs appear to have a potential dynasty on their hands. A former NFL running back, Bieniemy has helped maximize Mahomes’ talent at quarterback.
Understandably, teams wanting to follow the Kansas City model and create their own dynasty are zeroing in on Bieniemy.
Bieniemy is a hot name on the coaching carousel
If a team has needed a head coach in recent years, they’ve almost certainly interviewed Eric Bieniemy at some point.
That didn’t change to open the 2020-21 NFL offseason. Five of the six teams with head coaching vacancies interviewed Bieniemy within three days after the regular season ended.
The Houston Texans are the only team that didn’t interview Bieniemy in that span. Houston went 4-12 in 2020 despite star quarterback Deshaun Watson enjoying another excellent season.
Eric Bieniemy had a lengthy rap sheet as an active player
Lost in all of his success with the Kansas City Chiefs is that Eric Bieniemy generated quite a rap sheet for bad decisions.
- According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Colorado police arrested Bieniemy and teammate Kanvavis McGhee following a February 1998 bar fight. Bieniemy was charged with disorderly conduct and fighting in public, but he pleaded no contest. He and McGhee each received deferred sentences and performed court-mandated community service.
- According to the Orlando Sentinel, Bienemy pleaded no contest after allegedly shoving a firefighter on July 4, 1990. Colorado suspended Bieniemy for one game in the upcoming season.
- Colorado police once again arrested Bieniemy, then in the NFL, in September 1993. The Orlando Sentinel reported that Bieniemy allegedly grabbed a female parking attendant by the neck and threatened her.
The University of Colorado Boulder banned Bieniemy from its campus for one year as a result.
“She stated that the male who grabbed her said something about ‘a bunch of Black males all at once being her worst nightmare,” the attendant told police, according to the arrest report.
- According to the Daily Bruin, Colorado police arrested Bieniemy on a DUI charge in April 2001, three months after he joined the football staff as a running backs coach. He previously had his driver’s license suspended after numerous violations.
- Bieniemy was also linked to allegations that Colorado’s football program “used alcohol and sex to lure recruits.” ESPN reported in 2004 that the university discovered there was evidence of drugs and alcohol being used to “entice recruits,” but no university officials were guilty of misconduct.
Bieniemy left Colorado after the 2002 season to take the same position at UCLA.
Teams will have a difficult decision to make about Eric Bieniemy
When it comes to his on-field resume, Eric Bieniemy should check most, if not all, boxes for a potential head coach.
However, Bieniemy’s off-field history is much different, and a team will have to decide if they are still comfortable hiring Bienemy given his past decisions.
Bieniemy has been a successful offensive coordinator, and he may become a terrific head coach. However, a team may prefer a safer choice, whether it is Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady or 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, than someone with Bieniemy’s legal history.