CINCINNATI — It was past time for a change.
The Cincinnati Bengals fired head coach Marvin Lewis on Monday, finishing his 16-year tenure in Cincinnati with a 131-122-3 regular season record. Even though he gathered the most wins in franchise history, he’ll eventually be remembered because of his 0-7 playoff record.
The playoff album can be a knock to the coach who shot the Bengals out of their doldrums of the 1990s, nonetheless it’s undoubtedly not the entire narrative. The Bengals experienced 1-2 non-winning seasons until they hired Lewis in 2003, and he turned them into winners almost immediately.
He should certainly be commended for it, particularly considering that the unconventional manner that the Bengals operate. There are unique challenges to working for the Bengals, who run a modest family-owned operation and don’t even have a general manager. Lewis had to do more with less for several years, working in a organization which was reluctant to cede any control over personnel and the coaching staff, even forcing him to retain helper coaches he didn’t hire.
You will find matters Lewis wanted from the company and never got, such as the indoor practice facility which was a place of contention between themself and Bengals owner Mike Brown.
In case Lewis and Brown hadn’t even exercised a fresh contract this season, perhaps the Bengals wouldn’t’ve had the five-year playoff run in 2011-2015. He’s been the best man for the age that included five consecutive playoff appearances.
It’s hard to state he could be the best man for the job today.
The NFL has evolved in a variety of ways since Lewis was hired, however, the Bengals never looked to seriously evolve with the rest of the league. The matters that plagued them five to 10 years ago continue to be issues.
The Bengals made a reputation for too little area under Lewis, also which was on full display the night that they melted down against the Pittsburgh Steelers through the 2015 AF-C wild card match. Despite the fact that they cleaned most of these off-the-field difficulties, the absence of area on the field never looked to really go a way.
After the Bengals needed to hold off the Steelers early this season to conserve a win with two minutes left, a defensive punishment resulted in a game-winning drive. Those situations happened significantly more than once through the entire season free of reprieve, pointing into an issue with getting the message through to the players.
However, the 2018 season would have really been a season for any company.
It certainly could be applied as a reason, however fundamentally it shouldn’t even be. The Bengals have been moving the wrong way as the 2015 meltdown, and the fanbase so desperately craved a change they stopped showing up to games.
The message was clear: They wished to see that the Bengals progress as opposed to staying in place.
Lewis got almost two years in a league where a coach on average has two or three years to prove himself. It was more than enough time to prove he would turn the Bengals into a Super Bowl contender. For any reason, he could never get there.
Why could one more year be another?
If the Bengals kept Lewis throughout the 20-19 season, it would have delivered a message which they didn’t even caution about ticket sales or the fan base. They needed to take drastic measures to get their fans back, also this is a start.
Lewis did plenty of great for the company and shouldn’t even be forgotten. But he evolved with the rest of the league, and the Bengals were never going to evolve an organization if he remained.
After 16 years, it was time.