Bengals fans have mixed opinions about Marvin Lewis, but the coach is earning some recognition for his success, regular-season success, at least. Cincinnati's head coach has led his team to five consecutive playoff appearances, compiled a 112-94-2 record and won four division titles in 13 seasons, boasting a .543 winning percentage throughout that span.
Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld, who ranks each NFL coach on an annual basis, ranking Lewis 7th on his list this year; last year, he ranked 11th. Daugherty had this to say in regards to Lewis' success in Cincinnati:
When Marvin Lewis first took over as Bengals coach in 2003, George W. Bush remained in his first term as president and the iPhone was still four years away. Lewis' 13 seasons at the helm of the same team are second only to Bill Belichick's 16 in New England. A lot has changed in the world in Lewis' decade-plus at the controls in Cincinnati, but not everything. For starters, the Bengals still haven't won a playoff game. For many, Lewis' 0-7 postseason record is a disqualifying factor for even being a head coach, let alone ranked as a great one. But to dwell on Lewis' dismal Januaries is to miss his exquisite February-Decembers.
When Lewis replaced Dick LeBeau, fired after a 2-14 2002, he was inheriting the rubble of a 55-win team over its previous 12 seasons. That's 4.5 per year. Lewis has more than doubled that total in his time on the job, and produced almost as many division titles (four) as the Bengals managed in their first 35 years of existence (five). Lewis has spawned three head coaches, Mike Zimmer, Jay Gruden and Hue Jackson, in the past three years. Lewis' postseason results have left everything to be desired, but his process is a model to be followed in a league where consistency is the most precious of commodities.
Lewis was ranked ahead of some great coaches including Panthers coach Ron Rivera, the Steelers' Mike Tomlin, the Saints' Sean Payton and the Bears' John Fox. While having the worst winning percentage of the top 10 coaches, Lewis is the only man on the list who turned one of the biggest jokes in NFL history into a serious contender.
While Bengals fans are rightfully frustrated about the fact that Lewis still hasn't won a playoff game, the coach's track record speaks for itself. Lewis has managed to keep a high level of continuity in Cincinnati, despite opponents trying to poach players and coaches from Cincinnati every season. His teams have been very successful, yet incredibly unfortunate at the worst times. Hopefully, 2016 will be a different year when it comes to the postseason, but will see more of the same success the regular-season has featured for the last five years.