Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy opens as betting favorite to replace Jon Gruden in Las Vegas


The Raiders will assuredly wait to announce a permanent replacement for Jon Gruden, who resigned in disgrace following a scandal that will almost certainly end his NFL coaching career (he can probably kiss his endorsements goodbye too). In the meantime, special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will serve as interim head coach, the highest position he’s held in nearly 20 years coaching at the professional level.

Joining a prestige franchise in a city many would identify as the world’s entertainment capital should make the Raiders appealing to prospective head coaches including Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has also been connected to the opening at USC. A college prodigy at Colorado and former NFL running back for the Chargers, Bengals and Eagles, Bieniemy has been repeatedly passed over despite landing countless interviews in recent coaching cycles, leading some to question the NFL’s patronizing Rooney Rule, affording minority candidates nominal interviews under the guise of being “inclusive.”

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After years of “almost,” will Bieniemy finally achieve his dream of becoming an NFL head coach by defecting to Kansas City’s AFC West rival? The oddsmakers at Bovada think so with Bieniemy opening as a +200 favorite to succeed Gruden. The incumbent Bisaccia is a close second at +325 with Cowboys OC Kellen Moore and Packers coordinator Nathaniel Hackett each installed at +450. College coaches Matt Campbell (Iowa State) and Lincoln Riley (Oklahoma) join Bucs assistant Todd Bowles, Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Panthers wunderkind Joe Brady as distant +950 longshots.

Nowhere on this list will you find former Eagles coach Doug Pederson, who many had already linked to the Raiders’ vacancy, citing his close ties to GM Mike Mayock. With more jobs to open up in the coming weeks and months (from the looks of it, Urban Meyer could be one and done in Jacksonville), it’s impossible to know where the Raiders are leaning in their search for a new head coach, though given his pedigree and impressive track record as Andy Reid’s right-hand man, Bieniemy should have as good a chance as any to fill Gruden’s shoes in Sin City.

Speaking of Gruden, despite his flameout, resigning over a slew of offensive emails sent over a period of several years, his son, Deuce, will continue in his role as the Raiders’ assistant strength and conditioning coach. Surely that won’t be awkward at all.

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