Next to Bill Belichick, Marvin Lewis is the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL. He's been with the Bengals since 2003, taking the franchise from consistent losers who hadn't seen the playoffs in a decade to a group always in playoff contention.
Lately, he's been doing a particularly impressive job with the once downtrodden franchise by coaching them to a playoff berth every year since trading away former franchise quarterback Carson Palmer and drafting current franchise quarterback Andy Dalton. That success has convinced them to extend his run as the team's head coach with a contract extension through 2017.
Unfortunately, consistently contending for playoff berths has not led to success in the postseason. Under Lewis' direction, the Bengals have gotten to the playoffs a total of seven times without a single victory. That narrative was almost overturned last year after Vontaze Burfict intercepted Landry Jones in the dying embers of the Wild Card game in which the Bengals were winning. However, a late fumble from Jeremy Hill and a pair of personal fouls from Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones put the Steelers in prime position to snatch the victory from the playoff win-starved Bengals.
For some, the blame has been put on the coaching staff. In particular, Lewis. However, that doesn't appear to be the way the Bengals' administration sees it. Along with many Bengals fans, it's likely that they see Lewis as the man who took the franchise from rock bottom to a team fans can actually look forward to every year.
Don't forget that there was a makeshift succession plan for Hue Jackson to become the head coach after Lewis retired, albeit not something that Mike Brown wanted to put into writing. Without the person they were expecting to take over remaining on staff, it makes sense why the Bengals would want to lock up the best head coach they've had since Brown fired Sam Wyche just a few months after taking over as the Bengals' owner.
It also makes sense that they'd want a stable coach like Lewis in position while they groom the next planned successor, though who that will be is unknown.
However, there's also the problem with incentive. Some have cited this as an issue with consistently extending Lewis despite the lack of improvement from year to year. While it's true that the Bengals have made huge strides since the 90s and early 2000s under Lewis, their playoff excursions have consistently found very little success.
Is it really a good idea to encourage the concept that being the Bengals head coach means you can lose when it counts and still keep your job? Many fans say no, but others are more worried about having security at such a potentially volatile position.
Sound off, Bengals fans! Let us know what you think about the extension in the poll and comments section!