(Photos courtesy of the Cincinnati Bengals)
Talk of Fame Network
Marvin Lewis is the winningest coach in Cincinnati Bengals’ history. He’s also the second longest tenured coach in the NFL. So he must be doing something right … and he is – like winning three division titles and taking the Bengals to an unprecedented four straight playoff appearances.
But that’s where the trouble begins. He hasn’t won a playoff game. Ever. In fact, he’s 0-6 in them, which begs the question: How does he get the Bengals over that hump?
So we asked him.
“We’re trying turn over every rock we can to figure it out,” he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast. “There’s no doubt about it. Nobody here has more on the line than myself, Mike Brown and Andy Dalton in that situation.
“So, from how we eat, how we train, how we practice, how we prepare. Everything that way (is examined). Unfortunately, you don’t get a chance to start at that level. We have to earn our way back to that level, and that’s what we’re busy doing right now. If we’re fortunate to be back in that position, I hope to be there with a healthier football team and with a team that has a better eye on the target and quite a bit of focus and resolve.”
Lewis competes in one of the toughest and most competitive divisions in the NFL. In fact, three teams from the AFC North – the Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens – graduated to the playoffs last year, with the Steelers and Ravens representing the AFC in four of the 12 Super Bowls since Lewis joined the Bengals in 2003.
Bill Walsh once said nobody should coach in the same place more than 10 years, but Lewis must not have been paying attention. This is his 13th season in Cincinnati, second only to Bill Belichick’s 16 years in New England among current NFL coaches. One difference: Belichick operates in a division he owns. Lewis has had to fight for survival in his 12 seasons in the AFC North, and he’s done so well he gained a contract extension earlier this year.
So was Walsh wrong? No, said Lewis.
“This is a different era,” he said. “The players are changing every three or four years. So that’s a little bit different. We’ve changed out many of the players, where in the NFL of the past those guys would stay seven, eight or nine years with the same club.
“Now with free agency and so forth, there’s an evolution of players, a matriculation, a growth and a graduation that occurs, and you’re constantly cycling through new players all the time — which is a little bit different than it was. When you know that your words are no longer… when they’re falling on deaf ears. … it’s time to move on.”