This offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals has been all about retaining the services of their own and the team added to that trend on Friday.
The team announced that Marvin Lewis had signed a one-year extension through the 2015 season to remain the team’s head coach.
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) March 14, 2014
Already the most tenured coach in Bengals history, Lewis enters his 12th season at the helm with a 90-85-1 regular season record . In that span, the Bengals have had just two losing seasons. This came after a stretch of 11 sub-500 seasons and one 8-8 campaign in the 12 years prior to Lewis’ arrival. The three division titles under Lewis add to the team’s eight in its 45-year history.
“Marvin has earned this commitment for the job he is doing,” Bengals President Mike Brown said. “We are one of only five teams to qualify for the playoffs the last three years, and our prospects are bright looking ahead. Marvin is driven to achieve more and we are happy to secure his leadership of our team beyond the coming season.”
One would think that, if Brown’s words were true, Lewis would have earned more than a one-year add-on to his contract.This is, by my count, the third contract Lewis has signed with the team since 2010.
For all his successes, however, the 2009 NFL coach of the Year still comes under fire for his 0-5 mark in the playoffs, including three losses at home. Excellent at building a roster and pretty good at preparing them for Sundays, most of the criticism centers around Lewis’ game management ability.
Lewis, however, deserves credit for his overhaul of the team, turning it from laughingstock into one of the AFC’s most feared units. He’s also been able to wrestle a little power from team Brown and put his stamp on the franchise.
For his part, Lewis has been an excellent coach for this franchise but this year is big for him. The concern is that he’s brought this team as far as he can and that a new voice will be needed to carry it forward and chase a Super Bowl. With his quarterback and a number of other young players hitting their primes, the time is now for the Bengals to try and make a run at that elusive first Super Bowl title.
Is Lewis the man to take them to the promised land? The team will just have to keep choppin’ wood and doing the little things right and we’ll find out.