Marvin Lewis has been the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals for a long time.
Some would even say too long, but in that time Lewis has racked up a pretty impressive number of wins. He currently ranks 26th all-time in wins by a head coach with 125 wins, according to Pro Football Reference. He has already passed coaches like Dick Vermeil and Mike Ditka, and he is currently tied with Jim Mora Sr.
Lewis’ place on this list is very interesting as there are only two active coaches ahead of him on this list. Those two being Bill Belichick (3rd) and Andy Reid (11th). Lewis will have a hard time catching those names, but he has a decent chance of ending up near the top 20.
If Lewis ends up to lead the Bengals to eight wins in 2018, he will pass Weeb Ewbank and Hank Stram. It would also tie him with John Fox, who was fired this offseason. It would place him at 133 wins, and he would be in the area of Hall of Fame coaches.
If he won another eight games in 2019, then he would be sitting at 141 wins and pass Tony Dungy. That would land him at 22nd overall and 16 games away from being top 20 on the list.
That is impressive, and all it would also put Lewis at 272 games coached overall. That would easily put him at an advantage over the other coaches in the same range. To put it in perspective, Dungy only coached 208 games to get to his spot. Bill Cowher only coached in 240 games to get to 20th all-time.
While it is fair to say the guys at the top of the list like Belichick and Don Shula all coached in way more games than their peers, they also have a way better win percentage than Lewis. The top seven coaches all-time all have win percentages over 60. Lewis’ win percentage is only 52.7.
Lewis can also feel several active coaches biting at his heels. Mike McCarthy and Mike Tomlin are both within range of passing Lewis before he even retires. McCarthy is only four games behind Lewis, and Tomlin only needs nine more wins to catch up with Lewis.
This is also probably a good time to point out these totals don’t include playoff wins, something that wouldn’t impact Lewis’ total anyway. I mentioned before he will be passing some Hall of Fame coaches in the next couple of seasons.
The main reason Lewis won’t have a shot at that indication is fairly simple. You don’t have to look farther than the man he is currently tied with. Mora won 125 games as a head coach.
However, he never won the games that counted the most. He went 0-6 in his playoff appearances. Lewis has a similar mark of 0-7. All of these Hall of Fame coaches have a Super Bowl, championship or even playoff success attached to their resume.
Lewis’ crowning achievement was turning the Bengals back into a relevant team after the 90’s, but without playoff success he isn’t going to be viewed as highly as his win totals indicate he should.