If Eric Bieniemy is hired as a new head coach, Brad Childress makes sense as an advisor in some capacity.
At this point, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Eric Bieniemy will be an NFL head coach in the coming weeks. While he’s presently occupied as the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl favorites, it’s also true that teams are already scheduling virtual interviews as fast as they can with the Kansas City Chiefs assistant. Given the traction he’s earned over the last few years, this should be the year he’s rewarded with a chance to lead his own team.
When a man like Bieniemy leaves for a new position, he’s going to have to build a staff with him and it’s often lost on the casual fan just how many assistant coaches and quality control positions there are to fill on a new team. Most often these slots are filled with friends—fellow coaches and colleagues with whom the new head coach has worked before.
The issue for coaches leaving Andy Reid‘s tree is that they’re not allowed to typically take someone with them. When Matt Nagy left for the Chicago Bears in 2018, the only former Chiefs face on his staff was Brock Olivo, an assistant special teams coach. Former Chiefs assistant Brad Childress would eventually join him, but Childress was already gone from K.C. by that point. The next year, he was joined by inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone, but that came after the Chiefs decided on a clean sweep of their entire defensive staff.
To that end, it’s likely that Bieniemy will do the same and lean on those outside the Chiefs organization to round out his new staff—if and when he’s allowed to install one. Unfortunately for Bieniemy, his eight-year stint with the Chiefs means that he hasn’t exactly been deeply embedded in other franchises, learning to trust and appreciate the skill sets and coaching instincts of others. Sure there are more ways to meet someone than working with them, but the daily grind of a coaching staff involves a lot of trust and Bieniemy likely trusts his current fellow coaches most.
One name that makes sense for Bieniemy, however, is Childress, especially considering how far they both go back. Bieniemy got his first gig at the pro level with Childress, serving as his running backs coach from 2006 to 2010 with the Minnesota Vikings after a couple years with UCLA in the same role. Childress promoted him to assistant head coach in his final year there, with a clear vision for what Bieniemy could be one day.
Bieniemy would return to the college ranks as offensive coordinator at his alma mater in 2011-12 after the Vikings cleaned house before the 2011 season. Childress would take a year off and then joined the Cleveland Browns in 2012 before agreeing to help his longtime friend Andy Reid in Kansas City. Was this why Bieniemy was also asked to join Reid’s staff? That’s uncertain, but the connection makes sense and it wasn’t long until Reid himself noticed Bieniemy’s potential as well. Childress remained with the Chiefs for five years in various capacities—from offensive coordinator to spread game analyst.
As Bieniemy considers the candidates to fill out his own staff, it makes sense that he would lean on a senior voice who helped him get where he’s at today. Childress is presently 64 and it’s hard to tell how motivated he is to be a part of the ins-and-outs of coaching these days, but even in an advisory role, he could be a helpful voice for a first-year head coach. It’s also possible that roles are reversed and Childress takes on an even bigger role than that. That is, if Bieniemy ends up getting a new job this winter.