NFL teams, players and even coaches would rather avoid being a lame duck entering the final year of their respective contract. Nearly was the case for Marvin Lewis, who was entering the final year of his contract. Despite being the winningest head coach in franchise history, there was some belief -- actually, let's call it a hope -- that this could be Lewis' final year in Cincinnati if he failed to win a playoff game.
With an 0-5 career postseason record, Lewis' squads -- for one reason or another (a.k.a Andy Dalton turnovers, absent defenses) - struggle when the team needs to circumvent a history that refuses to be forgotten.
The Bengals announced on Friday that Lewis has received a one-year extension through the end of the 2015 season.
"Marvin has earned this commitment for the job he is doing," said Bengals president Mike Brown. "We are one of only five teams to qualify for the playoffs the last three years, and our prospects are bright looking ahead. Marvin is driven to achieve more, and we are happy to secure his leadership of our team beyond the coming season."
Reports began surfacing last month that an extension was being discussed.
We know, we know. In reality, a rolling one-year contract extension means nothing in the NFL. If the Bengals want to change directions, a contract isn't going to prevent it. And in fact, the extension removes probable distractions for a head coach, who can now focus on the necessary steps, not only to sustain Cincinnati's unbelievably impressive run of playoff berths, but to accomplish more.
Lewis signed a two-year deal in 2011. After Cincinnati unexpectedly qualified for the postseason, Lewis was given a three-year extension in 2012. Under Lewis, the Bengals have sustained their successes. Cincinnati finished 11-5 in 2013 and won the AFC North Division championship by two games over Pittsburgh and Baltimore. In addition to being one of five teams to make the playoffs three straight years, the Bengals are one of only six teams to reach the playoffs four times in the last five years.
"I’m blessed to continue to do a job I love here in Cincinnati, and with the Bengals organization," Lewis said. "I truly appreciate the commitment by our management to continue to enable us to build an NFL championship team."
Lewis will extend his Bengals-record head coaching tenure to 12 seasons this year. His 90 career victories are the most in Bengals history, by 26 over Sam Wyche (64). His record is 90-85-1 in the regular season and 90-90-1 including postseason.
In 2013, the Bengals’ numerous top 10 NFL rankings included: net defense (third), rush defense (fifth), pass defense (fifth), scoring (tied for sixth), scoring defense (tied for fifth), pass offense (eighth), net offense (10th), defensive third-down efficiency (second) and fewest sacks allowed per passing play (third).
Josh Kirkendall contributed to this report.