Brighter Orange and Bolder Black

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Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, a first-round playoff game sounded scary. The anticipation of Wild Card Weekend brought excitement, but it also brought the anxiety of a final exam; the “excited but let’s get this thing over with and hope for the best” feeling.

Not this year. Marvin Lewis has yet to capture that elusive first playoff win as a head coach, and even he has his eyes set on the bigger picture of four playoff wins this season. Not only is head coach Lewis focused, the two oft-mentioned coordinators and seemingly favorites to land head coaching jobs, Zimmer and Gruden, have declined to interview for more lucrative positions with other clubs, until after this playoff run.

The coaches have demonstratively shown their loyalty and dedication to their players, but the love has been reciprocal. It seems as if every week, a different player is either comparing Zimmer to a father figure, or stating that the whole team would be there if coach Zimmer was ever in trouble in the back of a Walmart.