The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Wednesday that head coach Marvin Lewis has signed a one-year extension, securing another year in a contract that could be viewed as a "rolling deal". The one-year extension is the third extension that Lewis has signed on his existing contract.
Lewis famously allowed his current contract to expire after the 2010 season, eventually re-signing a two-year deal worth $6.5 million. Cincinnati shocked, well everyone, by making the postseason on a six-win turnaround with a rookie quarterback. Lewis was signed to a three-year extension following that season and then back-to-back one-year deals.
January 7, 2011: Lewis signs a two-year deal through 2012.
July 31, 2012: Bengals/Lewis reach a three-year agreement through 2014.
March 14, 2014: Lewis extended for one year through 2015.
April 22, 2015: Lewis extended for one year through 2016.
For those of you who were hoping that Lewis wouldn't be extended until he had a playoff win under his belt, well that obviously didn't happen. Bengals president Mike Brown even hinted at this possibility last month. "I think Marvin has done a fine job with us," Brown said last month. "He’s been with us for a long time now. We have a good relationship. I hope that relationship goes forward into the future. But we aren't at the future yet. We don’t have to make this decision until after this year. He doesn't have to make this decision until next year. Right now he’s under contract and he’s fulfilling it as we would expect and he knows he should."
Cincinnati is obviously winless during Lewis' six-game tenure in the postseason -- is that worse or better than the 15 years that they were 0-0? Whatever. It's a rather distracting record for a team that STILL needs public validation. And let's face it, if Lewis wins a postseason game or two, his value exponentially increases (points to him). Win the Super Bowl... and his name could reach another level that we've never projected.
This is a coach who leads the franchise with 100 career victories (record 100-96-2), which is 36 more than second-place Sam Wyche -- Lewis is also the greatest tenured coach by five years. Cincinnati has reached double digits in wins each of the last three seasons, and the Bengals’ 31 total victories are tied for fifth in the NFL over that span.
Is Lewis' extension a good thing or a bad thing?
Good: Lewis has a history of success during the months preceding the postseason. Would you rather be miserable for several months, or for that day when the Bengals lose a postseason game? How much joy did you get in 2009 when the Bengals kept pulling out last second wins against the Ravens and Steelers. Or the offensive domination in 2005, or the defense we've seen blossom over the last four years? The postseason might not be very fun, but the regular season is fantastic.
Bad: Um, no playoff wins. That's all that matters.