4. Marvin Lewis (2003 – Present)
Marvin Lewis took over a Bengals franchise that was in disarray after many seasons of the franchise being the doormat of the NFL. Lewis immediately stepped up to the challenge and went 8-8 in his first season with the team, leaving Bengals fans and NFL pundits in shock. He continued his success over the next few seasons, developing his new team around first overall pick, Carson Palmer. In 2005, Lewis led the Bengals to an 11-5 record and a division championship. The highly explosive Bengals offense and ball-hawking defense were the talk of the NFL. That playoff bid was shortened when Palmer fell victim to a low blow to his knee in the first quarter of the playoffs against the Steelers that ended up tearing his ACL and MCL.
After a couple disappointing seasons, Lewis led the Bengals to another division championship in 2009 which also marked the first year the Bengals ever swept their divisional opponents. Again, they were bounced from the playoffs in the first round. After that, the organization went into havoc and led to Palmer demanding to be traded. This brought on one of the biggest changes to the franchise while Lewis was at the helm and he started a youth movement by putting together some of the best drafts in memory. In 2011, he led the Bengals to the playoffs for the third time, this time with rookie Andy Dalton at quarterback. Again, they lost in the first round, but there is a promising future in Cincinnati and Lewis can be given the lion’s share of the credit for it. Lewis’ current record with the franchise is 69-74-1.
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