When the Bengals finally broke their streak of consecutive season ending in playoff appearances, Marvin Lewis’ seat grew hotter.
After the Bengals’ offense limped along in 2017 and the 7-9 team missed out on the playoffs, his seat grew hotter still. In fact, Lewis was on such a hot seat that there were reports he would leave at the end of the season.
Then, when we though Lewis had finally worn out his welcome in Cincinnati, he signed a two-year deal to keep him the Queen City.
It really feels that Lewis will be in Cincinnati until he dies. Can he do no wrong?
ESPN’s Dan Graziano sees it that way. He made 25 predictions about the 2021 season, and one of them included Lewis. Graziano predicts that Lewis will get another extension and coach at least another four years for the Bengals.
Here’s what he says:
Unless, of course, the Bengals are one of the teams that gets sold. (See No. 6.) Look, if it wasn’t over after last year, what’s to say it ever will be? Lewis seems to like it there, and Bengals owner Mike Brown seems to like the face Lewis puts on the organization. It’s an odd dynamic there, and it’s not for everyone. Brown has a guy for whom it all works, which is why he’s not inclined to change it up.
Graziano’s sixth prediction is that two NFL teams will be sold by 2021. While he didn’t mention the Bengals during that segment, he does hint that the only way Lewis doesn’t keep his job is if Mike Brown doesn’t keep his.
Lewis’ best attribute as the Bengals head coach is that he has an understanding with Brown. Before Lewis, Brown’s Bengals were a disaster. The first eleven seasons of Brown’s ownership were the worst in franchise history.
Many players were unhappy with Brown’s ownership style and his frugality. One example comes from T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who claims that Brown wouldn’t supply the team with bottled water or Gatorade.
He also said that Brown offered the team used jockstraps, so the players didn’t get new ones unless they bought some themselves. Brown didn’t provide hotel rooms for the players or set a curfew on Saturday nights, so the players stayed out late and slept at home.
All of these things are highly unusual for a professional sports franchise. The overall problem of all of this was just a lack of professionalism.
But then Lewis came in and brought professional rectitude to the Bengals. The players could drink bottled water, they could wear unused jockstraps, and they were ready, focused and prepared on Sunday mornings after spending the night in the team’s hotel.
There is a reason that Brown went through three head coaches in the eleven years leading up to Lewis, who is now in his 16th year with the Bengals. Brown is an unusual owner.
But Lewis has proven that he can work with Brown and have reasonable success. Whether you like Lewis or not, he did has done a far better job than any other coach who worked for Brown.
Graziano hit the nail on the head. Lewis will continue coaching the Bengals as long as Brown is the owner.