Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be competing in the AFC Championship Game for a trip to Super Bowl LV. With the Houston Texans also searching for their next head coach, there may be even more at stake for both coordinators on Sunday.
Bieniemy, one of the top NFL coaching candidates available this offseason, still finds himself without a head-coaching gig. However, the Texans’ vacancy remains open and it seems the top coordinator on the other side of the sideline in Sunday’s AFC battle could be competing with him for a unique opportunity.
Eric Bieniemy, Leslie Frazier expected to have second interviews with Houston Texans
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Houston Texans are expected to request second interviews with Bieniemy and Frazier after the AFC Championship Game.
The NFL recently changed its policies regarding interviews for assistants still coaching in the NFL Playoffs. Under the new guidelines, teams can grant interview requests for their assistant coach if it’s for a head-coaching job. The Texans virtually met with Frazier and Bieniemy after the divisional round.
Both Bieniemy and Frazier believe they have a legitimate shot at becoming the Texans’ head coach in 2021. In fact, per Schefter, they are each starting to assemble potential coaching staffs to prepare themselves if Houston hires them to take over the position.
It creates an interesting dynamic for both coordinators. A win on Sunday means a trip to Super Bowl LV, with an opportunity to further strengthen a resume by beating the other coordinator’s team and further displaying their prowess as a coach and what they can do for a team.
However, the coach whose team loses might have a much better shot at becoming Houston’s head coach. Teams want to make hires as quickly as possible, which could mean choosing the coordinator who loses on Sunday.
If the Chiefs defeat the Bills, it still might be in Houston’s best interest to wait. Deshaun Watson remains upset with the organization after ownership reportedly lied to him. The star quarterback was promised input in the hiring process, recommending Bieniemy and Robert Saleh. But, early in the coaching search, Houston never even asked to speak to Kansas City’s top coordinator.
Hiring Bieniemy could be a huge first step in resolving some of the issues Watson’s issues with the organization, concerns tied to multiple alarming reports. While the 25-year-old hasn’t publicly requested a trade, there’s been signs he is willing to pull a Carson Palmer.
All of the drama surrounding this team made Houston the most undesirable job in the NFL. If they hire Eric Bieniemy, though, it could prove to be a massive save by the franchise.
There’s a chance that Frazier, an experienced coach with a savvy defensive mind, could convince Watson to stay with the Texans. If the team hires Josh McCown, though, things could get even worse for Houston.