Bengals former head coach Marvin Lewis belongs in Ring of Honor
Bengals fans are still buzzing over the official announcement that the team will finally have a Ring of Honor to celebrate past greats of the franchise. Former head coach Marvin Lewis deserves a spot one day. As Bengals head coach, Lewis had an 0-7 mark in the playoffs.
The Bengals zero wins in seven playoff games under Lewis hangs like an albatross around his neck and rightly so. The notion that Lewis is not one of the most important people in franchise history is laughable. When Lewis was hired prior to the 2003 season, he took over a franchise that just went 2-14.
Cincinnati had not been to the playoffs since the 1990 season and had just one non-losing season since 1991. Lewis guided Cincinnati back to .500 in year one and back to the playoffs by year three. Lewis reignited passion for the Bengals in the city of Cincinnati.
It was not Lewis’ fault his tenure lasted too long and the passion from fans turned to ire. The importance of the initial turnaround Lewis headed cannot be overstated. The Bengals went from rarely selling out home games prior to Lewis to people selling merchandise on street corners in the early days of his era.
The Bengals without Lewis
Oftentimes, the best gauge of someone’s importance to an organization is looking at what happened before they got there and after they left. The Bengals franchise began playing in 1968. They had seven trips to the playoffs prior to Lewis. Lewis had seven playoff appearances himself.
Since Lewis left, Zac Taylor has as many total wins in two years as Lewis did in his final year alone. Lewis should not go in with the initial Ring of Honor class alongside guys like Anthony Muñoz and Paul Brown. However, given the context of the previous paragraph, it is almost impossible to leave him out over the next few years.