The thing I hate about "coach on the hot seat" discussions, is that rarely, if ever, do authors follow up their reasons for job termination with acceptable replacement candidates -- and never do they put the Mike Brown equation into their rush-to-judgment formulas.
However, Alex Marvez makes many of the same points we've heard before.
Mike Holmgren needed seven years for his first postseason victory in Seattle. Jim Mora lasted 10½ seasons in New Orleans before resigning without a playoff win.
But both coaches had led their teams to multiple postseason berths. That's far more than what Lewis has accomplished.
Cincinnati has reached the playoffs just once since Lewis became head coach in 2003. Since that first-round loss to Pittsburgh in 2005, the Bengals have gotten progressively worse. A 4-11-1 finish in 2008 dropped Lewis' overall record to 46-50-1
Most people has used the last paragraph as their talking points - arguments - that Lewis should have been fired. Of course, one only has to point out that Lewis is, by far, the most successful of the coaches that Mike Brown has hired -- irony is that Lewis wasn't Brown's first choice -- it was Katie's. A justified argument is that Lewis isn't the problem -- that coming from the clan that says no matter who we bring, the same problems will exist. I subscribe to that theory too.
Where Marvez separates himself from others, who claim Lewis is on the hot seat every season, is around the brain of the entire thing.
Start with the family tree. Brown is the son of NFL icon Paul Brown. The spot Mike Brown has in his heart for head coaches became even softer when his late father was fired by then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell after the 1962 season.
Brown has given such previous Bengals failures as David Shula (19-52 record) and Bruce Coslet (21-39) ample time to resurrect his franchise. In fact, Paul Brown Stadium — the place where Lewis works every day — is named after someone who didn't win a playoff game during his seven seasons as Bengals coach. Mike Brown has faith in Lewis just like Dallas did in Tom Landry, who didn't notch a playoff victory until his ninth season.
The whole thing is about patience.
Asked about his Bengals tenure last week at the NFL owners meeting in Dana Point, Calif., Lewis said he has "gratitude" for Brown's unwavering support.
"When I signed the last contract extension after the '05 season, the thing Mike said was, 'I have more patience than you do. There's going to be some tough times ahead that people don't realize,' " Lewis said.
"Unfortunately, he's been right. I think his thing for me was to be patient and know there may be some pitfalls along the way that I didn't foresee coming."
Marvez has penned the best piece, I believe, to date about the whole thing -- ranging from Lewis' longevity despite lacking success and Brown's soft spot with head coaches.