The Cincinnati Bengals have had a lot of success under Marvin Lewis, and his impact has been felt around the league.
Lewis took the Bengals, arguably the league’s worst franchise of the 90s and early 2000s, and built them into not only a respectable franchise, but one that enjoyed seven playoff seasons from 2005-15.
This, with a franchise that had made seven playoffs in its previous 37 years. But Lewis’ success hasn’t been just wins and losses. His impact on the entire league is greater than most coaches you’ll find.
Since Lewis took over in 2003, many assistant coaches have come to Cincinnati and left to find greener pastures elsewhere while also making a little more green with their promotions to head coaches. During the past three seasons, three coordinators have left to become head coaches.
It first began in 2014 when the Bengals watched offensive coordinator Jay Gruden leave to become head coach in Washington. That same year, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer became head coach of the Vikings. Both Gruden and Zimmer brought their teams to the postseason in their second seasons as head coach.
Last offseason, offensive coordinator Hue Jackson left to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns. This offseason, we saw former Bengals assistant Vance Joseph become head coach of the Denver Broncos, just one year removed from his Cincinnati tenure.
Between Lewis’ large coaching tree and seven playoff appearances, you’d think he’d be getting some respect from the national media. NFL.com doesn’t think he deserves it, as they ranked Lewis 17th in their power ranking of all 32 NFL coaches.
17) Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
For a man who has taken the Bengals to the postseason seven times, this ranking might seem unfair. Consider, though, that none of those trips resulted in a playoff win. While discipline has been an issue in the past, what derailed the Bengals last season were injuries and a punchless offense (Cincinnati ranked 24th in points scored). For the record, the 6-9-1 campaign was just the fourth losing season of Lewis' 14-year tenure.
I’m not going to argue for Lewis being higher on this list, but there are some names that were a little high for my taste.
John Fox at 12? A 9-23 record during the past two years says that’s too high.
We all love Mike Zimmer, but 10th? That’s too high for a coach who’s only 26-22 through his first three seasons with no playoff wins.
John Harbaugh ranked sixth? The guy who’s gone 1-6 against Lewis in their last seven meetings?
Mike Tomlin comes in fourth. Child, please. Mike McCarthy at third is even more egregious. Both coaches are only relevant because they have future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.
In other words, seeing Lewis ranked 17th on this list doesn’t mean much based on how out of touch the entire ranking is.
Notable guys behind Lewis include Bill O'Brien (18), Jim Caldwell (19), Jay Gruden (21), Hue Jackson (24), Vance Joseph (31). Some others ahead of Lewis are Jason Garrett (13), Dan Quinn (11), Pete Carroll (2) and of course Bill Belichick (1).
What do you think of these rankings?