Some consider Marvin Lewis a saint, while others think he’s a simply never going to be able to get the Cincinnati Bengals over the playoff hump.
Lewis’ sainthood comes from helping this franchise rise from the deepest, darkest cellar of the NFL that saw the team become arguably the league’s worst franchise of the 90s and early 2000s. He built the Bengals into not only a respectable franchise, but one that enjoyed seven playoff seasons from 2005-15.
Mind you, we’re talking about a franchise that had made seven playoffs in its previous 37 years. You’d think what Lewis has done would earn him significant love in the Queen City.
But as the late Harvey Dent once said, you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Sadly, we’re seeing that very tragedy take place with Lewis.
Even some of the NFL’s most successful coaches are eventually handed a pink slip that sees their memorable tenure end. Lewis has managed to avoid that fate several times during the course of his career, which has given him time to become a villain in the eyes of many Bengals fans.
What’s really hurt Lewis is his 0-7 career playoff record, an unmatched mark in NFL lore. That’s why a 6-9-1 disaster in 2016 would have been the end for Lewis with most, if not every other NFL franchise outside of Cincinnati.
However, owner Mike Brown opted to keep Lewis for at least one more season, which most think is one too many. That includes Bleacher Report, who called keeping Lewis the worst move Cincinnati made this offseason.
Cincinnati Bengals: Keeping Marvin Lewis
The Bengals scuffled through another mistake-filled offseason in 2017, as they let two key offensive linemen walk in free agency despite having money to spend, gave troubled cornerback Adam Jones yet another chance despite an embarrassing arrest and drafted major question marks in John Ross (injury concerns) and Joe Mixon (off-field concerns) in the first two rounds.
But their biggest mistake was keeping the head coach who had a say in all of the above.
How in the world is Marvin Lewis still employed?
Lewis has now coached the Bengals for 14 years. He's made the playoffs in seven of those seasons, six of which have come in the last eight years. But in all seven cases, he has lost on Wild Card Weekend. The Bengals have won the AFC North four times in that span (which isn't extraordinary in a four-team division) and have lost their first playoff game at home all four times.
Despite having a solid franchise quarterback, a decent defense and one of the best receivers in the game, they're coming off a six-win season, and it appears they took a step backward in free agency.
The Bengals make a lot of mistakes, but Lewis is their biggest one.
It’s definitely safe to say Lewis is becoming the villain no one wants to be, but the good news is, like many comic book legends, Lewis can be a villain one moment and a hero the next.
If Lewis can coach out this season, get Cincinnati back into the playoffs and win a few games he’ll go back to being the hero. Imagine if he coaches the team to the Super Bowl?
Until then, he’s just another coach on the hot seat.
Do you agree with B/R that not firing Lewis is the worst decision the Bengals made this offseason?