Marvin Lewis has been a cornerstone of the Bengals franchise since 2003. But, as the 2017 season slowly creeps up, fans are divided on his worth.
If most fans had their way, it would have been done long ago. Head coach Marvin Lewis would be anywhere other than on the sidelines in charge of the beloved Bengals. But, alas, that’s not in the cards. Lewis hasn’t been fired, but there’s a glitch in the standard programming. He hasn’t been offered a contract extension past 2017. Could this be the last straw in Mike Brown’s patience sombrero? Likely, it isn’t. But, things will certainly be interesting in the upcoming campaign.
The story is one as old as time. Lewis has definitely taken on the moniker of a beast, during his tenure in Cincinnati. But, that’s what happens when fans get tired of the system. For 14 seasons, Lewis has been a fixture roaming around on the turf at Paul Brown Stadium. In that time, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been to the Super Bowl twice and the Ravens once. What’s the connection? Both are teams that Lewis had a hand in building.
Getting to the Big Dance is no easy endeavor. But, there comes a time when something has to give. The Bengals haven’t come close to the NFL Championship Game since 1989. Truthfully, the closest Cincinnati has come to a simple playoff win was the Meltdown at PBS. Why do fans dislike Lewis and want him gone? The reasons are extensive. But, most are self-explanatory.
Who can deny it? Lewis has been the catalyst behind the Bengals recent postseason turnaround. But, there’s a catch. Though the Bengals have been to the playoffs five of the last six years, they have posted no wins. With the return to winning football, Lewis forgot to bring along the one thing that counts: finishing the job. It’s wonderful to get double-digit W’s in the regular season. But, the intensity isn’t being carried over into the playoffs.
The Bengals have looked good on paper, for the past three years. In fact, with Marvelous Marv’s keen eye for talent, Cincinnati has had the chance to win it all more than a few times. Yet, there seems to remain a disconnection between Lewis and the elusive playoff win.
There’s no doubting that the Bengals have come close, under Lewis’ watch. But, this ain’t horseshoes. It has to be all or nothing. Fans have been waiting for the team to advance for 24 years. Truthfully, the only reason some faithful are still around is the fact they don’t know what other franchise to cheer for. Bengals fans are a trusting bunch that keeps the faith and believes. Lewis makes promises that don’t have positive results. Eventually, the spell will wear off. More fans are going to demand accountability.
Hardworking football lovers look at the situation in concrete terms. If Lewis was working a 9-5 job, he would have been fired after the 2015 playoff loss. There’s no other way to phrase it. Marvin is obviously using Jedi mind tricks on Brown. Seven years of postseason one-and-done is going too far.
Here’s where you can take your pick. It seems to happen on a constant basis with Mr. Lewis. Remember that Monday Night Football game against the New York Giants? Can you remember that the Bengals were trailing 14-10 and needed some points before halftime? All they needed was a field goal. There was adequate time on the clock and the offense could have gotten in range for an attempt. Alas, that bug called clock management reared its evil head. The Bengals got nothing.
Managing time was also a culprit in the playoff loss to the Steelers. On that rainy night, it seemed like the Bengals were going to finally get a break. AJ McCarron had tossed the go-ahead touchdown to A.J. Green.This was going to end triumphantly for the Stripes. Later, Vontaze Burfict looked like a hero when he picked off Landry Jones with less than two minutes left in the game. The curse was finally over.
Wait. We’re talking about bad clock management. It’s not over.
Instead of having McCarron take a knee to run out the time, Lewis wants revenge. Common sense screams to get the Steelers to burn timeouts then kick a field goal. In other words, just run out the darn clock. Lewis gives the green light for Jeremy Hill to run the ball. The rest is history. Chris Boswell kicks his fourth field goal of the night, with 14 seconds left on the clock. There’s no need to go on.
If there’s one quality that a new head coach “must” possess, upon taking the reigns in Cincinnati, it’s clock skills.
When Marvelous Marv was hired, he came aboard as a no-nonsense type of coach. Seemingly, he was going to be a disciplinarian. But in the seasons since 2003, his personality has gone soft. The Bengals’ disgraceful loss to the Steelers showed that the inmates were running the asylum. Burfict and Adam Jones were called for penalties that effectively sealed the Bengals’ fate on January 9. They were out of control and headstrong.
The 2016 season saw the antics die down. In 2015, the Bengals were ranked at No. 14 in team penalties. It’s nice to see but the improvement comes a year too late. Lewis should have been implementing the focus during the record-setting 12-4 season.
Maybe the Bengals needed the anger to keep their defensive edge. When Burfict received a three-game suspension to start the 2016 campaign, the intensity slacked off. That’s when a drill sergeant was needed to get the team back on track. What Lewis does behind the doors of PBS isn’t being revealed. But, what fans are getting is a watered down version of what they really deserve.
Ultimately, it’s about how the players respond to Marvin Lewis. But, the relationship has grown stale with fans and apparently Mike Brown. Either the Bengals head coach gets mean or it’s time to start the search for a replacement that can.
Playtime is over. The playoffs are calling and it’s time for a win.