Should Marvin Lewis Return As Bengals Head Coach?


In all likelihood, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis will return for his 14th season in 2016.

But should he?

Lewis took over a Bengals franchise that was a laughing stock of the NFL and has helped elevate them to….well, what are they?

The Bengals have a great roster, one of the best in football.  But year after year they can’t be taken seriously because when the games matter the most in January, they fall short time after time.

Lewis has a record of 0-7 in the playoffs.  There’s no account of any head coach, recent or otherwise that has kept his job for this long without winning a single playoff game.

Should the Bengals and their fans be happy with their transformation into one of the more respected teams under Lewis’ watch or demand some success in January?

It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon of firing a head coach, but the tougher part is finding someone better to replace them with.  Cincinnati might actually have that guy in offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who will likely be awarded some head coaching job in the coming week.

Before we figure out if the Bengals franchise is ready for a jumpstart, we must first try to examine how much of their postseason shortcomings have been Lewis’ fault.  In the Andy Dalton era, the “Red Rifle” has played horribly in their playoff games, throwing one touchdown and six interceptions.

I suppose you can blame Lewis for sticking with Dalton, but examining the landscape of quarterbacks the team would certainly take a huge step back if they went with someone new (that’s actually available).

This Saturday’s playoff loss was certainly the worst of the Lewis era.  There was no Andy Dalton to throw the football to the other team, and backup quarterback A.J. McCarron threw what should have been a game winning touchdown pass with under two minutes remaining.

Right before the unthinkable happened.

Vontaze Burfict was the best player on the field, and also one of the worst.  His fine history should tell him that you cannot launch yourself at a defenseless receiver’s head, after a pass sails uncatchably high.

Adam “Pacman” Jones should know that you can’t be push and shove players and coaches after the referees tell you to stop. This has nothing to do with curses or bad luck or “choking’’.  It has everything to do with playing smart, poised, selfless football.

Lewis’ tendency to give talented players with questionable pasts second chances came to a head Saturday night.  With all the great plays of Burfict also come the stupid personal fouls.  That’s what you get with one of the dirtiest players in the NFL.

The Bengals head coach preaches discipline, but his players can not follow it in the biggest moments.

If and when Cincinnati breaks huddle next year with Lewis as their coach, why should anyone expect anything different?  They’ll likely be a very good regular season team that will make the postseason again, and probably find a way to lose.

There are about 20 teams in the NFL that would love to be a fixture in the postseason as the Bengals have become.  But there are 32 that want to win a Super Bowl and under the Lewis regime, Cincinnati is simply a playoff speed-bump.

Is that enough?


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.