Why did Eric Bieniemy leave Patrick Mahomes for the Commanders?

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Eric Bieniemy and Patrick Mahomes
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Eric Bieniemy and Patrick Mahomes /

Why did Eric Bieniemy leave the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes to join the Washington Commanders in 2023?

It’s been the talk of the town for days. Eric Bieniemy is officially on board with the Washington Commanders and fans are waiting patiently to hear what their new assistant head coach/offensive coordinator has to say during his introductory press conference this week.

One of the biggest questions will likely be centered around why Bienimey left the Super Bowl champions and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes to take up a new challenge. Something that was no doubt difficult but understandable at the same time for his own career trajectory.

Bieniemy has been unfairly overlooked for head coaching opportunities in recent years. Many speculate about why that is when the credentials are obvious, with Mahomes and other respected players on the Kansas City Chiefs having nothing but good things to say about his methods.

Why Eric Bieniemy left Patrick Mahomes for the Commanders

When you hear Bieniemy talk, it’s hard to believe he’d interview poorly as some suggest considering his knowledge and leadership traits. After playing a significant role in Kansas City securing another ring, the respected offensive mind clearly felt this was the best time to make it on his own.

The decision was still bizarre to some. However, this might be the last chance Bieniemy has of proving beyond all doubt he can thrive without Andy Reid overseeing matters.

Washington made Bieniemy a primary target and after discussions went well, gave him a promotion, a multi-year deal, and a pay increase every season in the event he keeps getting spurned for a top job somewhere else.

Bieniemy will call his own plays, mold the staff working alongside him, and also have a huge voice in terms of finding the right personnel this offseason. If this enables the coach and the Commanders to thrive next season, then teams should be beating down his door to make a bid.

This was a sentiment echoed by both John Keim and Adam Teicher of ESPN, who highlighted that the only way for Bieniemy to convince people once and for all is to make a success of things elsewhere without Reid and Mahomes to call upon.

"“(Andy) Reid’s shadow wasn’t an obstacle for Doug Pederson or (Matt) Nagy, his first two offensive coordinators after joining the Chiefs. But for some reason it seems to be an issue for (Eric) Bieniemy in his pursuit of an NFL head-coaching job. Perhaps getting away from Reid and (Patrick) Mahomes and being successful with the Commanders will make him a more attractive head-coaching candidate.”"

It’s a big gamble from Bieniemy’s perspective. This takes him out of his comfort zone without a magician such as Mahomes under center, but there is enough on the Commanders to suggest this relationship can reap instant rewards if everything goes well.

Life is all about taking risks. Nobody gets anywhere standing still and Bieniemy had nothing left to prove in Kansas City once he’d hoisted another Vince Lombardi Trophy.

One could make an argument that this wasn’t the right place. However, Bieniemy will learn a great deal from Ron Rivera – one of the most respected leaders of men anywhere in the league – which will be an experience he could put to good use in the event he gets a head coaching job.

Bieniemy is betting on himself. And he shouldn’t be maligned in any way for that whatsoever.

Even if it did mean leaving an all-time great quarterback behind.

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