Many fans throughout the Cincinnati metropolitan area thought some major changes were coming to the team this year, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Marvin Lewis, head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been in charge in 2003, but the question has to be asked — should he still be? It should be noted that Lewis has impressively led the Bengals to the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, but in 12 seasons in charge he’s yet to deliver a playoff win.
At what point does ‘just getting there’ lose its luster? The Bengals, led by quarterback Andy Dalton and host of talented skill players, have to believe that they are good enough to win in the postseason. However, the Bengals have continually underachieved in January. Even so, the Bengals management have recently extended Lewis’ contract for at least one more season in the Queen City. Many fans are rather upset about this news.
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I can’t blame the fans for being upset with this decision; the Bengals have long been known as a mediocre franchise. Mediocre at best, that is. The team has never won the Super Bowl, losing in their only two appearances. Dalton, 27, is entering his fifth season as the team’s quarterback and he’s led his team to four straight winning seasons and playoff appearances.
Should it have been time for the team to go in a different direction at head coach as Dalton begins the prime of his career? Or should Bengals fans start to appreciate the fact that they’ve made as many playoff appearances in the last four years as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and the Kansas City Chiefs combined?
Those are four proud NFL franchises that boast a lot of talent and still the Bengals have been to the playoffs just as much as all of them in recent years. That should count for something right?
Should Bengals fans actually be content with the job that Lewis has done as a head coach? I mean, in the last four years he has led them to four exciting seasons despite playing in a really tough division (AFC North).
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
After thinking about those factors I am still going to have to say no, the fans shouldn’t be content.
In my opinion, the Bengals should have brought in a new head coach with a fresh perspective as Dalton, wide receiver A.J. Green, running back Jeremy Hill, and the rest of their talented roster continues to develop. So again, no, Bengals fans shouldn’t be content with just making the playoffs — this roster is better than that.
Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what the Bengals see in Lewis. His all-time record as the team’s head coach is 100-89-2 and he’s 0-6 in the postseason. True, he’s only led the team to two losing seasons, but he’s also only won three division titles since 2003.
Division rival Pittsburgh has won five division crowns in that timespan and Baltimore has won four. Of course, both of those teams have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy since 2003, as well (Pittsburgh winning it twice).
Not like you need it, but you have my permission to protest Lewis’ contract extension for the entirety of the 2015 season, Bengals fans. That is, unless he leads them to the Super Bowl, then management will be referred to as brilliant. But until then, I understand your outrage.
Shedding the reputation for mediocrity than follows the Bengals’ franchise has to begin with not accepting good seasons in exchange for potentially great seasons. That starts with the head coach. Lewis is a good coach, I can confidently say that.
Lewis has won more than he’s lost and he has brought his team to the playoffs five times in the last six seasons. Only the Patriots, Packers, Ravens, and Colts can claim to also have accomplished that feat. But he’s just not a great coach and, if you ask me, he never will be.
The regular season is important, but coaches, players, and franchises are judged almost solely by their postseason success — Lewis has none to speak of (0-6 record all-time).
For that reason, the Bengals should have brought in a new coach, but since they gave him a contract extension they’ll have to wait another year to right this wrong.
The fans in Cincy have every right to complain, they believe their roster deserves to be led into the postseason with confidence. Not to mention, the fans definitely deserve more than zero playoff wins since 1990. To put that depressing fact into perspective, the Bengals’ starting running back Hill wasn’t even born yet the last time Cincinnati had success in the postseason. That is why the fans aren’t content with just getting there anymore.
I feel for you Bengals fans, hopefully Marvin Lewis proves me (and many others) wrong and finally delivers that postseason win that the inhabitants of southern Ohio are so desperately craving.
But I’m not holding my breath.
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