Is simply making the playoffs all that is required for Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis to stay employed? Is that how low the bar is for one of the most pathetic franchises in the NFL?
Lewis has now coached the Bengals for 12 years. He’s made the playoffs in six of those seasons, five of which have come in the last six years. But in all six cases, he has lost on wild-card weekend. The Bengals have won the AFC North three times in that span (which is only an ordinary amount for a team in a four-team division) and have lost their first playoff game at home all three times.
They’ve failed to score more than 17 points in all six of those games and have been held to 13 or fewer in each of the last four.
That’s almost hard to do. Lewis’ Bengals have always crapped the bed in big games and there’s no sign of that changing. Only one of those losses has come by a single-digit margin, and this is all despite the fact they’re loaded with talent.
Yeah, it would be easy to blame the “general manager,” if that’s what you want to call owner Mike Brown. But Andy Dalton is an above-average quarterback, A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill are prime weapons and the Cincinnati offensive line consistently ranks among the best in football.
The defensive front seven is also jacked. Geno Atkins is one of the best defensive linemen in football and they’re very deep right across the board on D.
This is the type of team that should be contending for the Super Bowl and winning playoff games every year, and yet Lewis has failed to get the most out of his team for the better part of a decade.
No other coach in football could fail that often and live to tell about it. Here’s a list of current coaches whose tenures span beyond five years:
1. Bill Belichick
2. Marvin Lewis
3. Tom Coughlin
4. Mike McCarthy
5. Sean Payton
6. Mike Tomlin
7. John Harbaugh
Lewis is the only coach on that list who hasn’t won a Super Bowl, let alone a playoff game.
There’s just no explanation for why he’s still employed other than the cheap-ass Cincinnati front office being satisfied with the status quo. They’re competitive enough each year to keep fans in the seats and Lewis doesn’t ruffle feathers.
For championship-starved Bengals fans, that’s unfortunate.