Cincinnati Bengals: It’s Time to Finally Fire Marvin Lewis

Other than enjoying Skyline Chili, I have no allegiance to the Queen City. That said, I was a constant critic of Cincinnati’s baseball manager, who was rightly fired after another postseason choke job in October 2013. Therefore, to be fair, like last year on this very day, I see the same things wrong with the city’s football coach. I believe the Cincinnati Bengals should fire Marvin Lewis after another playoff defeat Sunday. The team could’ve hosted a Wild Card game but blew the division the final week in Pittsburgh.

The Bengals fell to the the Indianapolis Colts 26-10 on Sunday in what can only be described as an anemic performance. Nothing went right and Lewis deserves the blame.

Marvin LewisThe NFL is not a public school. There is no tenure, no perpetual job security, and results matter. Yet Lewis, who just wrapped up his 12th campaign with the team, is currently the second longest-tenured coach in the league. Only New England’s Bill Belichick (three super bowl titles, five conference titles and a winning percentage of 74 percent) has coached longer with one team.

Why is Lewis – who is barely over .500 during his time with the Bengals, has missed the playoffs half his years at the helm, and has oversees ugly first round exits in all six postseason appearances (four at home) – still collecting a paycheck? October and November wins are irrelevant when your season annually ends just after New Year’s Day. Postseason berths with quick exits are not the goal of any team.

Lewis is now 0-6 in the playoffs. That’s inexcusable. Dusty Baker was 2-7 in the postseason, and was only granted six years before termination. Maybe the Reds’ front office has less patience than 79-year-old Bengals’ owner Mike Brown. How long will the national media promote his cause? I’m sure it pleases Lewis, but what about the long-suffering fans and hard-working players? At least Mike Tomlin, who hasn’t won a playoff game in five years, has a Super Bowl title under his belt.

The Bengals are the first franchise in two decades to lose their opening playoff game in four consecutive seasons. What more evidence is needed? It’s long past time for Marvin Lewis to get the axe and for the team to head in a new direction, with new, sturdy hands the helm.


About the Author

AJ Kaufman

A former schoolteacher and military historian, A.J. now works in public relations. As an MSF columnist since 2009, he supports anything baseball-related. Raised in San Diego, A.J. has since resided in numerous parts of America, including Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington State. After departing the coasts in 2005, he's traveled the back roads of all 50 states and prefers the Heartland. Married to Maria, A.J. is the author of three books and enjoys reading presidential biographies.