Bengals owner Mike Brown saw the reports, three games from the end of the season, that coach Marvin Lewis was done.
Then he saw the Bengals last two games.
In an interview with Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Brown said that wins against the Lions and Ravens long after the Bengals were eliminated from the playoffs helped him feel comfortable with bringing Lewis back for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
“I chose not to make a decision on what we were going to do going forward until all the evidence had been submitted,” Brown said. “And that meant playing through the full season and not making a call prematurely. I would say that while we had serious reverses and they were unsettling, to put it mildly, we bounced back at the end of the year. We beat two teams that were in playoff runs. We beat them in games that were important for them where they gave their best shot and I was impressed how we rebounded. That played into what was in my mind when I had to make a final call.”
The Bengals struggled in a number of areas this year, but Brown said he viewed those issues as “correctable.” And he also made it clear that after meeting with Lewis after the season, he thought they were at least close enough to being on the same page that it was worth proceeding.
“Well, there are issues. They are countless. We discuss them all,” Brown said. “More often than not, way more often than not, we agree. There are occasions when we’ll see it differently. Quite often I permit him to go forward when I don’t necessarily see it the same way. Occasionally, I will say no, it’s going to be this way. It’s a mix of all that. That’s a day to day part of the business.
“One of the good things is we understand each other. While we aren’t always eye-to-eye, when we sit down I’d like to think when he leaves the room we have it set to go forward in a way that’s agreeable to both of us. I think that’ the general outcome. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think it’s healthy.”
Brown obviously thinks so, since he allowed Lewis to remain the second-longest tenured head coach in the league despite the lack of a playoff victory.