An article published last week on Cincinnati.com indicates that Marvin Lewis has a set a new goal for the Cincinnati Bengals to finish the season with 8 straight wins and hope for a playoff spot. But the problem with that idea is he fails to realize what team he is coaching. This team has shown no ability to play a complete game, let alone sting several wins together in hopes of finishing with an 8-8 record and lost 8 straight to before getting their first win. While I applaud the optimism, but what precedence has been set for Marvin to think this? And how often has any Bengal team won 8 games in a row?
The Bengals have been in existence for 40 years, being established in 1968. In that time, no team in franchise history has ever won 8 games in a row. Even during the two Super Bowl seasons, the longest winning streak was 6 games straight that occurred during the 1988 season. The longest winning streak in franchise history is 7 games, which occurred during the first season the Bengals were in the NFL, 1970. For those who may not realize it, mainly those younger than most of us, the Bengals started in the old American Football League in 1968, which later merged with the National Football League in 1970. That Cincinnati Bengal team, coached by our beloved Paul Brown, started 1-6 before winning the final 7 games of the season finishing 8-6 qualifying for the playoffs as AFC Central Division winners.
Since the NFL went to 4 divisions per conference, 2 teams have made the playoffs with 8-8 records; the 2004 St. Louis Rams and the 2006 New York Giants. Neither team started the season 0-8 and then win the last 8 games to make the playoffs.
Being optimistic is a great trait to have. Especially when coaching a team that has a reputation for losing. But one must have a dose of reality when setting goals for a team that does not have the ability to meet this kind of goal.