The Bengals love continuity, which is one of many reasons why we should expect Marvin Lewis to be back with the team in 2017.
Regardless of how the Bengals finish this season, Lewis is all but locked in to returning for a 15th season, if he wants to. He's already signed through 2017, and we already know how owner Mike Brown very rarely allows the team to pay coaches or players who aren't still with the organization.
It also helps that Lewis and Brown have an uncommon level of continuity between an owner and coach. Those two have worked closely together for much of Lewis' tenure, and that relationship is just another reason why Lewis is likely to be back next year.
Because when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter what we think or what ESPN thinks. All that matters is what Mike Brown thinks, and Lewis believes he knows what Brown is thinking when it comes to his continued employment.
"I have one-stop shopping. I talk to Mike every day. And I don't have to hear from someone else what they think... because it's what he thinks," Lewis told ESPN.com. "I report to Mike and that's all that really matters that way. We have the candid conversations we have all the time. It's just the way it is."
If Lewis does indeed return, he'll attempt to guide the Bengals to another winning record and playoff berth, two things Brown never enjoyed as an owner before Lewis got here. As soon as Brown took over the franchise in 1991, the Bengals fell into the cellar of the NFL.
But Lewis helped pull the franchise out of it and make this a winning franchise again. That earned him a lot of clout with Brown, so don't expect one bad season, after five great ones, cause Brown to fire the only winning coach he's ever employed.
"I think the thing with Mike is that he's been in this business a long time. And he takes every loss as hard as I do or anybody else does here. And it affects him," Lewis said. "But on the other hand, he trusts me to move the football team in the right direction. ... that's the commitment that he's made to me ... and that's the commitment I've made to him, to get his football team in the playoffs and through the playoffs all the time and be world champions...
"As long as I'm going to do this here, that's what my goal is. Anything short of that, I'd be wasting time worrying about it other than spending time worrying about how to beat the next team."
We likely need to accept the fact that Lewis is going to be back next year if he wants to be. He’s done too much in the eyes of Brown to be gone after a bad season, even if he has yet to win a playoff game in Cincinnati.