Eric Bieniemy has been the Kansas City Chiefs' offensive coordinator for the past three seasons. During that brief span, he's twice helped head coach Andy Reid oversee the NFL's top-ranked unit and twice been part of a Super Bowl participant.
But barring an unforeseen turn of events, Bieniemy will retain his current post going into the 2021 season after another head coach hiring cycle came and went. Bieniemy interviewed for all seven league openings last month without another team choosing him for its top job.
"I learned a long time ago to learn how to persevere through adversity," Bieniemy said Tuesday during the lead-up to Super Bowl 55.
"But the beauty of it is, it's not so much that I have to persevere – because that's gonna take care of itself – it's making sure that whatever is taking place with Eric Bieniemy isn't becoming a distraction in us pursuing our dreams and our goals."
Eric Bieniemy has been a member of the Chiefs coaching staff since 2013. (Photo: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports)
Bieniemy and Reid indicated they haven't had the opportunity to cull feedback on why no job was forthcoming to Bieniemy, who said he'll think about that after the Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
"I'll handle Eric Bieniemy's business on Monday," he said, "sometime Monday evening or even Tuesday … to start worrying about what I need to be concerned with with me moving forward as far as (how) the interviewing process went."
Asked by USA TODAY Sports whether finding the right head coaching job is at least as important as getting any opportunity to move up the ladder, Bieniemy replied: "It's always about getting the right job. And you gotta understand – sometimes the job and the person have to connect.
"The only thing I can do is be my most authentic self, that's who I am, OK? I can only be me. Some team has to want me. On top of that, there has to be some kind of collaboration, making sure the chemistry is a fit. So for whatever reason, that chemistry has not been a fit, there has not been that opportunity to connect. But that's OK."
He underscored how much he loves working for Kansas City owner Clark Hunt, general manager Brett Veach and Reid.
"I'm excited about the opportunity that has been presented to me," Bieniemy said.
He added, despite blistering criticism the NFL has taken for its lack of Black head coaches – there are three after the Houston Texans' newly hired David Culley joined Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin and Miami's Brian Flores – that candidates don't want to be recognized primarily for their skin color but want to be hired on merit.
"I did not ask to be the poster boy of this particular situation that I have experienced," said Bieniemy, who was also passed over during the 2020 hiring cycle.
"At the end of the day, the only thing that you want to do is be recognized for all the things that you have accomplished. And, for whatever reason, that has not happened. And that's OK."
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Kansas City players were supportive of Bieniemy.
"He gives me every single tool that is needed," said quarterback Patrick Mahomes, "helps me go out there and be comfortable in the pocket and be able to get us to the right play and the right read. That comes straight from him – it's film study, and his study of the opponent's defense."
Mahomes said there's been "no difference" in Bieniemy's approach or any note of despondence in the meeting rooms.
"He always preaches control what you can control," said the Super Bowl 54 MVP. "That's how he's been. Obviously you know he's disappointed he doesn't get the opportunity to become a head coach after this season."
Running back Le'Veon Bell likes what he's seen in his few months playing for Bieniemy.
"His focus is really impressive," said Bell, who's played for three head coaches during his NFL career, while praising Bieniemy's intensity.
"I know for a fact just being around EB … he's definitely a head coach."
Reid still believes it will all work out for Bieniemy, saying: "Whoever gets him, whenever they get him, will be very, very lucky."
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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