Six of the seven projected NFL head coaching vacancies available this season have already been filled. Yet, no Black head coaches have been hired. Most notably, Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy was thought to be a top candidate for all seven vacancies, but he remains without a head coaching opportunity. As time continues to pass, frustration from both fans and players regarding this matter continues to grow. Recently, Washington Football Team Quarterback Alex Smith voiced his frustrations on the matter.
"I think it's ridiculous that he hasn't been hired yet," he told Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports.
Having played in Kansas City for five years, Smith is well aware of Bieniemy's talents. Bieniemy arrived in Kansas City in 2013 and worked as the team's running backs coach in 2018. Five years into his time with the team, he was promoted to the role of offensive coordinator. As an offensive coordinator, Bieniemy has played a crucial role in helping the team reach the AFC Championship twice and win their first Super Bowl since 1970. Per NFL guidelines, deep playoff runs can create difficulties along the interview process. However, 14-year NFL Veteran Alex Smith doesn't believe that is an excuse for not hiring one of the most successful offensive minds as a head coach.
"I know the interview process is weird with a team that is still in [the playoffs], but regardless I don't see how you can excuse [not hiring him]. I think Eric is number one quality and it was apparent the first day I met him," Smith added.
Not hiring Bieniemy is a sign of a much larger problem in the NFL. Currently, there are only two Black NFL head coaches in a league is more than 65% people of color. Furthermore, the NFL’s 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Report showed that 31 head coach, general manager, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator positions were available in February. Of those 31 positions, 24 were filled by white men.
Moving forward, it doesn't appear that Bieniemy will be hired for the league's only remaining head-coaching vacancy in Houston. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported that Houston Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson had to "advocate" for Bieniemy to even get an interview.
Bieniemy has not commented on the matter publicly. Instead, he remains focused on this week's AFC Championship game as he and the Chiefs vie for a second straight Super Bowl appearance.
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