Marvin Lewis has been at the helm of the Bengals franchise for 14 years. He now wants to get a contract extension. Should this be an option?
For the first time in six years, the Cincinnati Bengals are not in the playoffs. The man behind the recent success is looking for a contract extension. Marvin Lewis has not been offered a new deal from the Bengals. But, Lewis is adamant that the 2017 season will be drastically different. The breakdown that occurred last season was more an anomaly than the norm. But, is that enough to get him another year?
The background on Lewis is well-known. Even football fans that don’t follow the Bengals are aware of what he’s done and what his downfall has been. Since coming to the Queen City, Lewis has turned the Bengals into a respectable regular season machine. Since 2011, the Bengals have been a postseason fixture. But, his one-and-done circus acts are not popular with Cincy fans.
It seems like there has been no other head coach roaming the sidelines in Cincinnati. Lewis is the longest-tenured drill sergeant in franchise history. But, outside of his regular double-digit wins, the best the Bengals have been able to achieve are Wild Card berths. Coaches have been fired for less than that. Mike Brown is an extremely patient owner. On the other hand, fans are getting impatient. Yet, Lewis is confident he should get an extension to take the Bengals over the hump.
"“We’d like to agree to something at some point,” Lewis explained per The Cincinnati Enquirer. “It puts, I think, everybody’s mind at ease going forward for their futures. A lot of the people in the building, it makes it easier on them.”"
Chasing The Elusive Championship
Security is important when it comes to peace of mind. But, does that secure extension mean more disappointment for Bengals fans? Lewis will be going into season number 15 with Cincinnati. The promises sound good and give that warm fuzzy feeling. But, when the words fail to transform into conference championships, it may be time to consider the alternative.
In the wake of losing key free agents and coaches leaving, the Bengals have to keep things in order. The lack of continuity was largely due to new teaching techniques. But, that’s what coaches are hired to do. They have to make adjustments in the midst of injuries and turmoil. Their job is to navigate the ship through the storm. Lewis and his staff failed to do that in 2016. Looking for an extension essentially means the system will produce a championship. If it doesn’t, what then?
Maybe the rumors of Ben Roethlisberger retiring have inspired Lewis. If Brown decides to give him an extension, there would be an easier road to the AFC North crown in 2017. But, that isn’t the focus. With or without Big Ben, the Bengals should be expected to bounce back from last year’s lackluster performance.
This Is It
The question of giving Lewis another year has become an annual event in Cincinnati. Each time, there are a new set of excuses to justify his keep. Yes, the Bengals were just a few plays away from winning more games. The performance of Mike Nugent was surely suspect and Randy Bullock cost them an emotional game in Houston. But, this is about Lewis leading the Bengals to another postseason spot.
Many times, facing huge games, the Bengals came out flat. Lewis has already said he has to find the right buttons to push. Does getting a contract extension give a coach that magical revelation? Multiple trips with no wins aren’t enough. This time, he has to prove he’s worth it.