Three of the AFC North’s four head coaches have led their teams for at least eight years, with Marvin Lewis of the Bengals having the longest tenure – 13 years. But will Lewis still be the Bengals’ coach after next season, entering the final year of his latest contract?
Bengals owner Mike Brown praised Lewis at the NFL owners’ meetings, but he refused to commit beyond next season.
“It’s a process,” Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We seem to go through our own dance. But I commend Marvin’s achievements. He’s done remarkably well with our football team here, in recent years especially. I respect him. I like him personally. He’s going to be our coach this year. That’s in the bank. Where it goes, we’ll see how it plays out.”
The good news for Lewis is that the Bengals have made the playoffs six of the last seven years, including five straight. The bad news is that Lewis is 0-7 in playoff games, including the debacle in January when the Bengals suffered a crushing playoff loss to the Steelers, featuring foolish late-game penalties and a key fumble by Jeremy Hill.
Meanwhile, the AFC North has two other coaches who have enjoyed the ultimate postseason success. Mike Tomlin, who became the Steelers' coach in 2007, has won a Super Bowl. John Harbaugh, who became the Ravens' coach in 2008, has won a Super Bowl.
Many coaches envy Lewis’ regular season record. No coach envies his postseason record. Whether Lewis coaches beyond this season may depend on whether the Bengals make the playoffs again, and avoid being one-and-done.
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