As you may or may not have heard by now, there is talk of a rift between Eric B and Mahomes. Well, the cat is really out of the bag now with this.
My B.S. meter is going off pretty big on this one.
Do we actually believe EB had 100% of playcall duties with no ability for Reid to override him? Pretty sure Trav just said the other day there was no reason he didn’t get a job.
I’m not here saying I wouldn’t rather have another OC. I just don’t think this is the reason the team lost. And I very much question the authors.
Why would we let Kafka walk if EB wasn’t coming back? Wasn’t he the de facto choice to replace EB when he was gone?
@Kcmatt7 I have some good info from someone I trust completely (no one related to this article) about why EB hasn’t got a HC job yet and it’s not nefarious at all. It’s also not what they talk about in this article. Basically to put it one way…EB would have to ease up on his demands/the amount of power he wants as HC.
@BShark This I would believe.
mayjay last edited by
Author deleted the article in the OP.
Setting the table:
This is not a normal story from the KC Star or better publications. The length of this article is intended to provide context and insight. Patrick Mahomes did not throw the game. The NFL did not order the Chiefs to throw the game.
The game of football is played with the highest level of passion possible, an energy most simply don’t understand. But realize this: what occurred on the Chiefs sideline and in the locker room during the AFC Championship wasn’t a brief spat or a heat-of-the-moment flare up.
It was instead the culmination of several issues that all came to a head at the worst time possible.
We ask that you put away your preconceived notions about national reporters caring about Kansas City. This story will not be reported on because of the optics involved. In regards to our sources:
Most of you reading this understand where the Chiefs Kingdom Editorial Board comes from — the twitter handle of @1_Chiefskingdom, originally known as “Save Our Chiefs.”
The “Save Our Chiefs” movement, the single greatest fan revolt in sports fandom history, rekindled the owner’s connections to those in NFL circles. Chiefs employees fed us info, gave us insights to the hiring of Andy Reid and much, much more. Since, we have taken a step back, only reporting sporadically. We don’t have a podcast, a website needing clicks, or a need to generate profit. We simply share what we know for the enjoyment of Chiefs Kingdom.
We get asked about our sources. Let me tell you how they come about: The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. They control 100 percent of the narrative. Nothing is left to chance, except the police blotter. Even then, they can control the longevity of something in the media.
But when it comes to the team level, people will talk. And in the case of the Chiefs most recent playoff loss, they are.
Based upon information provided directly to us, there is a narrative being pushed not only by the Chiefs, but at least two high-profile players. There is nothing wrong with that — this is how the off-the-field game is played in the NFL.
Ted Crews, Executive Vice President of Communications for the Chiefs, is the main handler of information both public and private, and does a masterful job of controlling information released to local reporters and national insiders. So when things like “Andy Reid Meeting with Eric Bieniemy” come out, it’s because the team, or agents (or sometimes both), wanted the news out. Sub-tier employees of the Chiefs also have access to this information.
There are several people at One Arrowhead Drive who want a certain narrative pushed out so a different one can be ignored. The Chiefs are wary of the optics of separating from Eric Bieniemy. Technically, they already have, as Bieniemy has no contract with the club and is a free agent. Given the Brian Flores lawsuit, and perceptions of racist behavior towards Bieniemy, the Chiefs simply don’t want to be in the crosshairs of the same controversy right now.
There is no racism involved with Bieniemy not getting a head coaching job. When you interview for a role 15 times and come away empty handed, it’s time to look at the man in the mirror. Bieniemy has rushed his interviews, been incomplete in thought and structure and has lacked a true plan that a billionaire owner can get behind.
The back-channel communication on Bieniemy is simply not good and it has zero to do with race. Case in point, the NFL begged and pleaded with the Saints ownership group to “strongly consider” Bieniemy. In the end, the team felt Dennis Allen’s plan and continuity was more important than Bieniemy’s ideas and the NFL’s pleadings.
So what now? Bieniemy is a free agent. He will meet with the Chiefs and talk through options. They have held initial talks with another round coming soon. However, considering what has happened, and what you’re about to read, it all boils down to… The Chiefs and Eric Bieniemy are not meant for each other.
To understand this, travel back in time to Super Bowl LV. The Chiefs were fresh off a 31–9 thumping due to their Dollar General-style duct tape offensive line. Mahomes ran for 500+ lateral yards escaping rushers, and the Chiefs were exposed.
Walking out of the stadium that night, Bieniemy’s contract with the Chiefs had expired, which was a well publicized story leading up to the Super Bowl. Bieniemy was passed over for head coaching opportunities. Whispers started to circulate about his deficiencies as a coach. Players, for the most part, remained silent.
Between the Super Bowl and the draft, Bieniemy quietly signed a one-year deal for just over $1 million. The Chiefs did not release details, Kansas City news didn’t really report on it.
According to our source, when training camp arrived, Bieniemy was different. He didn’t have the same energy he was previously known for. He was short and temperamental with a lot of people behind closed doors.
Flash back to August 2020. Bieniemy made this statement about Patrick Mahomes:
“You guys have been around him — you know him,” said Bieniemy. “He’s a competitive prick. OK? He’s a great kid, but he’s a competitive prick. He wants to improve at everything he could possibly improve upon. He wants to be the best at whatever he can do. And along the way, he wants to make sure that he’s leading the guys, he wants to be held accountable by his peers, but also, too — he just wants to work. And that’s what you love about being around him every single day.”
There was nothing playful about this quote. According to our source, Bieniemy disliked the dynamics Mahomes brought to the offense because he felt it hurt his chances to become a head coach. His statement may have come across as a joke, but as with any joke told, there is always some truth hidden in the delivery.
The 2020 season featured some minor disagreements between Mahomes and Bieniemy, that are at times just part of playing in the NFL. It was nothing out of the ordinary.
However, the situation began to head down a slippery slope as Super Bowl LV preparations went south. Bieniemy was interviewing for a head-coaching job while the team was trying to navigate the game plan and offset their offensive line problems.
Mahomes and Reid, according to our source, had a good plan in place. Bieniemy didn’t like it. He made several changes, and he had the power to do so in his contract, because he called the plays in 2020, as he did in 2021.
Editor’s Note: Many are misinterpreting the previous paragraph. Bieniemy does not have final say over Reid. Reid, at any time, can intervene. In this case, Bieniemy disagreed, lobbied for a different set of plays to be called, and convinced Reid and Mahomes it made sense. The person with the final say can and often does defer to a subordinate especially when he is trying to help that person get a head-coaching job.
One month after the Super Bowl loss, the decision was made to bring back Bieniemy on a quiet one-year deal, while hoping he would receive the head-coaching opportunity he had worked for. Everyone was on board with the game plan.
Focus on the optics. It’s easier to lose a coach publicly to a promotion than having to potentially fire a high profile coach. Optics matter, a lot, to these owners.
Then the Chiefs started poorly in 2021. Mahomes struggled. Eyebrows were raised. The national media dug in, smelling blood.
The reality of the situation: schemes were misaligned, several defensive backs were not getting along with defensive backs coach Sam Madison, and the Chiefs had lingering injuries.
And then the biggest snowball of all started rolling again: the hidden feud between Bieniemy and Mahomes.
In Week 3, during a midweek meeting between Bieniemy, QB coach Mike Kafka and Mahomes, Bieniemy laid into his star quarterback for no reason. Both Kafka and Mahomes pushed back on Bieniemy.
After this heated argument, which was not normal, Reid stepped in. Following the loss to the Bills, Kafka was quietly given a greater role in planning the Chiefs passing game. Kafka is known for being creative offensively at Arrowhead — his innovations are often called the “Mike Files.” He came up with “Rose Bowl Right,” the play the Chiefs ran for a key first down in Super Bowl LIV.
Editor’s Note: An error was made here. While Kafka does have plays called the “Mike Files,” there are also plays called “Joe Files,” that come from Chiefs WR Coach Joe Bleymaier. We incorrectly attributed “Rose Bowl Right” to Kakfa when in fact that was Bleymaier’s doing. We apologize for this accidental misidentification.
So at this point, Bieniemy’s role was adjusted, but Reid continued to let him call plays, once the Chiefs opening script was exhausted. This was in Bieniemy’s contract.
The changes led to the Chiefs having a run of success. Then, before the Chiefs-Raiders game in Las Vegas, Reid told production officials to avoid sideline shots of Bieniemy. Something again had happened in that week of prep leading up to the game.
Nobody will go on record as to what, other than to say “something happened.” But if you go back and re-watch the games this year, Bieniemy’s camera time went down compared to years past.
Since then, numerous fans who have attended games at Arrowhead and on the road have asked: “What’s with Bieniemy and Mahomes? They are beefing on the sidelines.”
Mahomes and Bieniemy do not get along.
For anyone questioning Mahomes at this point, consider the following insight from a family member of a high profile Chiefs player:
“Most of the guys tune Bieniemy out, because he does the one thing good coaches don’t do: ignores feedback from players.”
We have heard from multiple Chiefs staff, including some who stand on the sidelines, that Reid, Mahomes and Bieniemy have disagreed over gameplans and strategy all year, as well as far back to late 2020.
The same sources have indicated to us that the reason Bieniemy doesn’t have a head-coaching job is because of his temperament and unwillingness to accept feedback from his players.
This came up with the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints. Broncos GM George Paton asked Bieniemy point blank in his interview about a situation he saw while in Kansas City earlier this season. The answer from Bieniemy eliminated him from job contention.
Editor’s Note: We want to be clear here. There were multiple factors that led to Bieniemy not receiving final consideration for the Denver job. It was not just one answer. We could have structured this sentence better.
How did all of this come to a head in the AFC Championship?
On the last play before halftime, three feet and nearly two years of frustration wiped out a chance to secure Kansas City’s third straight Super Bowl berth. Poor communication, stubbornness and lack of game control all came together at the worst possible time.
Players have to execute the plays, but coaches also have a job to do.
Bieniemy failed in this situation, and everyone in the NFL knows it. A timeline of events.
(1) (0:09–2nd) Timeout #1 by CIN at 00:09.
Bieniemy tells Mahomes he has a timeout left and they had five play calls lined up, two of which were runs that were never sent in.
The first play failed. Bieniemy then told Mahomes he had one timeout left, and to run play X, or take a field goal.
The narrative that Bieniemy only wanted a field goal is 100 percent false. Bieniemy called the play that resulted in a doomed pass to Hill, not Reid.
Mahomes then tried to call timeout, and the clock expired.
Bieniemy called the entire game. While Reid can chime in at any point and toss out a call, Bieniemy had full play-calling authority via his contract.
(2) Bieniemy and Mahomes get into it at half time, in the tunnel and in the locker room. There was in-the-face yelling before Reid and the other coaches stepped in. It happened again after the game. Any remaining confidence or trust in the relationship was broken at that point.
(3) Anyone who has played QB at a higher level will say the headset can’t be chaotic. Usually only one coach has access, but this goes unchecked by the NFL.
Unfortunately, those in-game moments where Mahomes is squeezing his helmet and receiving calls late, is due to multiple voices on the hot mic. This happened multiple times in 2021, and during the AFC Championship, it was chaotic, particularly before the final snap prior to halftime.
Nobody can say exactly when this happened but at one point during the AFC Championship, the following exchange took place after Bienemy called a play.
Reid: “No, run this” Bieniemy: “What the fuck.” Kafka: “We’re blowing this game.” Mahomes: “Call the fucking play or I will.” Editor’s Note: We fully understand Mahomes does not have a two-way mic. His statement was heard from the field and sidelines and was sequential to this exchange as told to us. Mahomes has said this multiple times over the years. Every QB to play the game has said something like this. Mahomes was caught on camera saying this in the Denver game, and those issues boiled all season long.
(4) A high-profile offensive lineman snapped and spoke at halftime. This player is usually quiet, so his words have resonated with several high-ranking members of the Chiefs brass the past three weeks.
(5) Bieniemy called the entire second half, calling multiple times for Clyde Edwards-Helaire to get the ball instead of Jerick McKinnon. Bieniemy called for Demarcus Robinson to get the ball in overtime, over Mecole Hardman. Both passes fell incomplete.
Bieniemy ignored feedback from Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Hardman and McKinnon. Bieniemy had his “my way or the highway” moment calling plays in the second half.
At the end of regulation, with the Chiefs needing a touchdown to win, Bieniemy called at least two plays that the team hadn’t practiced in three months. It led to confusion across the board, from line blocking assignments, to routes, to Mahomes looking shaken.
Re-watch that series. Mahomes didn’t throw the game. Bieniemy literally created mass confusion in the most pivotal moment of the game.
(6) Since the AFC Championship, Super-Agent Leigh Steinberg and Bob Lamonte (Reid’s agent) have done a lot of talking about Bieniemy and Mahomes. This keeps the line of communication between Mahomes and Reid clear and consistent, but at the same time players are speaking up and trying to handle this situation via the back of the clubhouse.
(7) Travis Kelce agreed to be the Face of the Chiefs during the Super Bowl but he had as many as six issues with Bieniemy during the fall.
So what happens next?
There is an outside possibility that Bieniemy could re-sign with the Chiefs for one year. He could seek other opportunities or take a year off.
Bieniemy has an image problem to work on, due to prospective owners noticing his temperament, the way he ignores his players, and his past criminal issues. The latter is a big issue in the eyes of many.
It is clearly in the best interests of both parties to go their separate ways at this point. For Bieniemy to return, it means issues with Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, Hardman and others would have to be addressed to a satisfactory level.
Reid could turn to an old friend in Matt Nagy, who will actually check Andy and collaborate with the offensive coaching staff and listen to his players.
People want to lay blame on the players, but that isn’t always what should happen. As one of our good friends said to us today, “You can have all the soldiers in the world, but if you don’t know how to lead them, you’re screwed.”
Leadership reflects attitude and the 2021 Chiefs were clearly a victim of Bieniemy’s poor attitude. Editor’s note 2/17:
We have updated the article at approximately 9 AM CST with some clarification. Materially, we have not adjusted the story. Further, our sources will not be revealed. Many are the same sources that contributed to our Tyreek Hill stories.
This story is not discrediting Bieniemy’s contributions to the Chiefs in years past. He was a good coach who accomplished a lot in Kansas City. We’re not here to dispute that.
Over time, things change, hence why the NFL stands for Not For Long. This is not a hit piece, which has been a popular take. Rather it’s intended to provide insight into what happened.
That should be the entire article ^
DanR last edited by
entire article smells like BS
Crimsonorblue22 last edited by
@BShark do you believe it?
The authors pulled it lol.
Aaaaannnnd he’s back with the Chiefs. LOL
LOVE that those guys took such a big credibility hit.
The “editorial board” is literally just the worst kind of fan any team can have.
mayjay last edited by