Entering Super Bowl Sunday, there were just 13 teams who had never won a Super Bowl, so USA Today took it upon themselves to rank those 13 teams based on how close they believe those teams are to getting off that list.
To no surprise, the Cincinnati Bengals got very little respect in this ranking, but even the most pessimistic fan has to be upset with where Cincinnati came in. The Bengals are ranked 12th out of 13:
After five consecutive one-and-done playoff appearances between 2011 and 2015, they’ve regressed, losing nine games each of the past two seasons. Yet coach Marvin Lewis remains, incredibly, despite an 0-7 postseason record and a team that regularly lets its lack of discipline trump fairly significant talent. Not much to indicate a sea change is forthcoming, though the players do deserve credit for a strong finish to 2017, when it seemed like Lewis was certainly on the chopping block.
It is obvious by that answer that Marvin Lewis returning is the biggest reason for this ranking, and it is hard to argue with that. How many times can we hop on this train and expect to end up somewhere different?
When Lewis was re-signed, we were promised changes. The term starting from scratch was thrown around.
However, the Bengals quickly retained Bill Lazor as offensive coordinator after serving last season as the interim offensive coordinator for the final 14 games. The team also attempted to retain Paul Guenther before he decided to leave for Oakland.
Also, Mike Brown went on a huge rant about how the team probably won’t be changing their free agency philosophy even though they said they’d be more aggressive.
We won’t know for sure until free agency comes, but it sounding an awful lot like we were spoon fed some good ol’ lies to get through one of the more frustrating re-signings in team history.
I mean there are even rumors that the team wants to bring back Russell Bodine.
Either way, I get being ranked low, because obviously Brown has some trouble running this team. However, if you look at the rest of this list, it is insane who they have ranked ahead of the Bengals.
You can’t argue that teams like the Falcons, Vikings and even Jaguars deserve to be ranked higher. Then there are teams like the Panthers, Titans and Texans where you could put them ahead of or behind the Bengals, and it wouldn’t cause too much uproar.
The Chargers I have issues with because Philip Rivers is 36 years old, and they couldn’t even take advantage of a weak AFC this season. Once Rivers retires, they’ll end up behind the Bengals, so I wouldn’t but them ahead.
I can excuse the order of those teams, but there is only one team ranked at being farther from a Super Bowl than the Bengals. You probably think you know who that team is, but no, the Bills are ranked 13th.
That means they really ranked the Browns as being closer to the Super Bowl than the Bengals.
I had to put that in bold because I don’t think I can accurately portray just how insane that is. A team that didn’t even win a game last season and only won one the year before has more of a shot at the Super Bowl?
I get they have a new general manager, a ton of draft picks and more cap space than any team should have, but seriously how many times have they been in this situation?
Not to mention they also kept Hue Jackson through this whole ordeal. If the Bengals get their talented roster knocked for keeping Lewis, then how does a coach who has only won a single game not hurt the Browns ranking?
Alright, I’ve calmed down a little bit. Listen, the Bengals have a very talented roster, despite what some may say in the national media. They have some blind spots at offensive tackle, center and linebacker, but many teams would kill to just have those issues to fix going into an offseason.
I think we would all feel better going into next season with a new head coach, but at least Lewis has proven he can win with this team. Now, he needs to prove he can do it in the playoffs.