Is Marvin Lewis responsible for revitalizing the Bengals franchise, bringing it back to competitiveness and erasing the negative connotations the franchise had in the 1990’s?
Or, is Marvin Lewis responsible for zero playoff wins in 16 years, the phenomenal level of mediocrity the franchise finds itself in, and the culture of post-season disappointment the team cannot seem to escape?
Four days after it was announced that after sixteen seasons, the Marvin Lewis era had ended, let’s take a look at the many opinions, perspectives, and feelings that Bengals fans have about their former head coach.
Lewis holds a 131-122-3 record (.518 winning percentage) as a head coach, which is vastly superior to the 16 seasons prior to Lewis, in which the team went 88-167 (.345 winning percentage). Full list of Bengals seasons here:
Lewis also managed to make the playoffs seven times in 16 years, compared to two times in the previous 16 years. In nearly every aspect, the Bengals have improved as a team under Marvin Lewis when compared to the years before him, and he should be thanked for making Cincinnati a relevant playoff contender in nearly every year he was leading the team.
While Lewis has certainly improved the Bengals standing as a franchise, there is a reason he was fired. The former head coach was 0-7 in playoff games with Cincinnati, four of which his team was at home. This was certainly the most disappointing part of Lewis’ tenure, as he was panned by local and national media alike as being a coach incapable of winning the biggest games of the season. Lewis was also somewhat notorious among Bengals fans for his mismanaging of the game clock, as multiple times he put his team in tough situations due to Lewis being unwilling to have a full time clock management coach on his staff.
What should Cincy fans take from all of this? While it is obviously exciting for the Bengals to be in the hunt for a new head coach who will hopefully breathe some new life into this locker room, the progress that Lewis made for the franchise as a whole shouldn’t be dismissed. The Bengals ended this season with one fewer win than Cleveland did, and while Bengals fans are considering this season a disaster and a nightmare, Cleveland fans are rejoicing over their improvement. Cincy fans need to realize that at some level, Marvin Lewis helped Cincinnati stay mostly above water in a league where most teams do not stay in the hunt for the postseason nearly every year, and for that, he deserves some credit. With that being said, I believe I speak for all Bengals fans when we say it is time for the franchise to head in a new direction.
Looking for more offseason coverage of the Cincinnati Bengals? Be sure to check out some of our other articles on the topic:
"Three Things the Bengals Must do this Off-season"