Coming off consecutive losing seasons and no playoff wins since the 1990 season, fans and local media surrounding the Cincinnati Bengals are angry as the 2018 season creeps into view.
While that is understandable, what is not understandable is why the vast majority of the venom continues to be directed at longtime head coach Marvin Lewis. The vast majority of the fans in Cincinnati are angry that Lewis is still employed as the head coach, to begin with. Earlier this week, he added fuel to the fire by saying his team “has the ability” to win a Super Bowl this year. A statement that was met with universal eye rolling. Still, to put Lewis on blast for either of these things is ridiculous. Here is a closer look at each.
Lewis’s Job Status:
At this point, it is difficult to argue that Lewis should still have the job he took 15 years ago, especially with no playoff wins under his belt. However, it is not that black and white. There are only 32 NFL head coaching jobs to go around. These are some of the most sought after, coveted and difficult to attain jobs in all of America.
Anyone who is fortunate enough to land one had better hold on for dear life. Any NFL head coach must go to work every day and give it his all until ownership takes his keys to the building away. This leads to what so many people seem to miss in regards to Lewis.
It is not his fault that he is still head coach of the Bengals. Yes, Lewis probably would and should have been fired a long time ago in any other situation, but Lewis works for Mike Brown. The Bengals’ owner has been notoriously cheap and reluctant to change anything in the organization over the years. So, until Brown pulls that trigger or Lewis has some sort of health issue, it is on the former Ravens’ defensive coordinator to coach the players he has to the best of his ability. Lewis has always handled himself like a professional and never seems to say anything that ruffles anyone’s feathers. The ownership in Cincinnati has never been good under Mike Brown. Thus, Lewis has never been given much elite talent to work with. Still, he has seven playoff appearances and 125 total wins. That is about as good as any other reasonably competent coach would do in Cincinnati under Brown.
Bengals fans and the entire city of Cincinnati have every right to be pessimistic about the upcoming season and the future in general. Still, whether you think he should still have a job or not, Lewis does. Moreover, while he does, anyone with any sort of positive emotional interest in the Bengals should be rooting for him to succeed. If the head coach fails, the entire organization continues to fail.
The Super Bowl remark:
The amount of heat Lewis received from media and fans for the remark referenced above this week was shocking. Obviously, the Bengals are not at the forefront of any Super Bowl conversation in regards to the upcoming season, Lewis is not a fool. It is safe to assume that he understands that.
However, there is only one goal for every NFL team before the season starts, win the Super Bowl. Every coach in the league better have the same confidence as Lewis apparently does this time of year, no matter how crazy the rest of the world thinks they are. If they do not, they are in the wrong business.
Will the Bengals win the Super Bowl this year? Probably not, but anything can happen. Also, similar things have happened. The Eagles were 7-9 the year before winning the Super Bowl last year. Cincinnati also posted a 7-9 record last year. Regardless, it is genuinely dumbfounding as to what people expected Lewis to say in late July. Lewis did not guarantee anything. Lastly, what he said sounds a heck of a lot better than something like “if we play our best we can go 6-10.” Lewis is a head coach who believes in his players. There is nothing wrong or eyebrow-raising about that.