Bieniemy ignoring coaching snubs ahead of Super Bowl

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Kansas City Chiefs offensive co-ordinator Eric Bieniemy says he is focused solely on the Super Bowl after missing out on a coveted NFL head coaching job for a second straight year.

Bieniemy has become emblematic of the NFL's broad failure to appoint minority coaches to top jobs, an issue which critics say reflects systemic racism in hiring practices across the league.

The 51-year-old Bieniemy, who is Black, was overlooked for each of the seven head coaching vacancies that have been filled since the end of the regular season despite an impressive resume.

Bieniemy however said Tuesday that he is not allowing personal disappointment to distract him as the Chiefs attempt to clinch back-to-back Super Bowl wins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

"My focus is on making sure that the Kansas City Chiefs are ready to play and take care of business," Bieniemy said. "I'll worry about Eric Bieniemy from next Monday.

"I learned a long time ago how to persevere through adversity. The beauty of it is not so much that I have to persevere, because that's going to take care of itself. It's making sure that whatever is taking place with Eric Bieniemy isn't becoming a distraction in us pursuing our dreams and our goals."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said he remains baffled by Bieniemy's failure to land a head coaching job despite being interviewed by several teams.

"I'd be curious to hear their comments about why he wasn't picked," Reid said. "Eric works his tail off and he is relentless at studying the game. This guy doesn't miss a beat.

"I'm not an owner and I don't sit in on those meetings. But whoever gets him, whenever they get him, will be very, very lucky."

Bieniemy meanwhile is philosophical about his approach to future openings, stressing that he is powerless to force the issue.

"I did not ask to be poster boy for this particular situation," Bieniemy said.

"At the end of the day, the only thing you want is to be recognised for everything you have accomplished, and for whatever reason, that hasn't happened.

"That's okay. The only thing I know is to go back to work and continue chopping wood."