This era starts with the inception of the team up thru their 1990 playoff season.
During this stretch, the Bengals were a winning team, compiling a 171 – 168 – 1 record.
In those 23 years, the Bengals made the playoffs 7 times, including 2 Super Bowl appearances.
They had 11 winning seasons, and 9 losing seasons, and 3 tied seasons.
In those 23 years, the Bengals put together a top-5 offense 10 times.
The Mike Brown Era (1991 ~ 2002)
When Paul Brown died in August 1991, the Bengals officially fell under the full reign of his son Mike Brown.
The team responded by dropping from a 9 – 7 playoff season to a 3 – 13 record (which was the worst in their 24 year franchise history up to that point). It was an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come.
This abysmal 12 year stretch included ZERO winning seasons, and 11 losing seasons as the Bengals faltered to an overall 55 – 137 record.
Averaging barely 4.5 wins per season, this era set the low mark with the 5 worst years in team history.
They finished 3 – 13 four times, and capped off the era with a 2 – 14 mark.
This era was defined not only by the rapid accumulation of losses, but also by the contaminated drafting skills of Mike Brown, which brought in such picks as Akili Smith, Reinard Wilson, and David Klingler.
The Marvin Lewis Era (2003 ~ 2013)
Marvin Lewis was brought in to coach the 2003 season, and the team immediately responded by turning around from 2 – 14 to a solid 8 – 8 (their best season in over a decade).
In his 11 seasons as the Bengals’ head coach, the team has compiled an 88 – 84 – 1 record.
They have only had three losing seasons in his 11 years.
They should likely reach the playoffs in 5 of those 11 seasons, including 3 straight, and 4 of the last 5.