In a recent power ranking of NFL head coaches on NFL.com, Elliot Harrison said that Bill Belichick is No. 1 and Raiders coach Dennis Allen is No. 32. Almost right in the middle lies Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis at No. 14.
Here's an underappreciated head coach. He's not the best coach in the league, but he has been steady. The Bengals have gone to the playoffs in three of the last four seasons and are definitely a club on the upswing. That said, Lewis really could use a postseason win to enhance his standing among his peers.
Depending on how you look at what Lewis has done in his time in Cincinnati, you may agree or disagree with Harrison's placement of the longest-tenured coach in Bengals history. The funny thing is though, disagreeing could mean two different things.
If you think back to the '90s and what Lewis has done for the Bengals since he was hired in 2003, you may believe he deserves to be a top-five coach. Considering the fact the Bengals went through a 12-year stretch before Lewis was hired in which they reached eight wins only once and averaged six wins a year, and seeing where they are now, an argument can be made that he should be ranked much higher.
The Bengals have gone to the playoffs three of the last four years and could go to the playoffs for the third consecutive year in 2013, something they have never done. Lewis has had to rebuild the Bengals twice, once with Carson Palmer and once with Andy Dalton, and both times, he was successful.
At the same time, though, many may believe he should be ranked lower. While the Bengals have had success in the regular season, Lewis has yet to win a playoff game. In 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2012, the Bengals were defeated in the first round. Getting to the playoffs is a big achievement, but a team that can't win in the post season obviously can't win the Super Bowl. If that's the Bengals' goal, and it should be, they have failed.
In reality, the best place for Lewis maybe right in the middle, at No. 14. While he has brought the Bengals out of the depths of the abyss and made them a real threat to every team in the league, he hasn't been able to get past the wildcard round and has lost the games that mattered the most, against the Steelers, Jets and the Texans twice, in that order.
If Lewis can win a playoff game in 2013, his ranking should rocket up. If he can't, he'll hover in the middle with the rest of the mediocre NFL coaches.
As for the rest of the AFC North coaches, Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski comes in at no. 31, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin rests at No. 7 and the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens head coach John Harbaugh sits at No. 3, curiously behind his brother, Jim Harbaugh, at No. 2.