The Cincinnati Bengals have a luxury that 80% of NFL teams wish they had. While teams suffer through bad season after bad, they are either in the market for a new QB or Head Coach, but the Bengals have no such problem. Marvin Lewis has been at this for years, he has guided a cellar-dweller to the top of the division and kept them there, but still does not get the respect he deserves.
When Lewis took over the Bengals they were in the middle of an 11 out of 12 losing drought and the lone winning season was an 8-8 finish in 1996. During his tenure there, he hasn’t done much but finish with a winning record in 10 seasons out of 13, led the Bengals to the playoffs 7 years (5 straight), won a tough AFC North Division 4 times and drafted some of the games best skill players on offense and defense but yet, he gets dragged through the mud for lack of success. Go Figure.
The Bengals have not made it out of the first round during his tenure, but there are reasons why. Sure, some blame can be put upon his shoulders, but all? When they are winning it’s because of A.J. Green and Dalton but the moment they lose, it’s ship Lewis out-of-town. There will be no Dalton or Green without Lewis. If he were to go and the organization starts to fold, you know the old saying “you never miss a good thing until it’s gone.”
I get that a championship is a measuring stick for success but so is player development, relationships, and community outreach. What would happen if he was to be fired? Would Bengals fans be happy if there wad a Chip Kelly sighting at Paul Brown Stadium? In sports, the coach is just as important as the leading rusher, passer or sack leader but they only get noticed when things go wrong. Lewis has survived despite the Bengals playoff failures because he is a great coach and they are hard to come by.
2016 will be his 14th as leader of the Bengals and once again the team, and their fans will enter the season with Super Bowl hopes, not many teams can say that on a consistent basis, but the Bengals can, thanks in large part to their leader.