Report: Bengals ownership growing impatient with Marvin Lewis


In the 14 years before Marvin Lewis became the coach of the Bengals, the team finished in last place in its division seven times. (Twice, the Bengals landed fifth in a six-team division.) In 13 years since Lewis became the coach, the Bengals have been to the postseason seven times — including each of the past five years.

As Lewis enters the final year of his current contract, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report claims that ownership is becoming impatient with Lewis.

Before that report of impatience becomes anything more than a report of impatience, owner Mike Brown needs to think about the years before Lewis was hired, including an 11-year playoff drought that preceded Lewis. Sure, the Bengals haven’t won a playoff game under Lewis. This past year, that was poised to change before quarterback Andy Dalton suffered what became a season-ending broken thumb. Even with A.J. McCarron pressed into service, a wild-card win seemed a done deal until the moment that a pair of penalties on Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones allowed the Steelers to swipe a victory from the Bengals.

Could a failure to get to the playoffs in 2016 spell doom for Lewis? Maybe, but it shouldn’t — unless Brown is sure that he’ll be able to hire an upgrade, at an affordable rate.

I commend Marvin’s achievements,” Brown recently said. “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.”

Five years ago, it played out with the coach’s contract expiring and both sides deciding that it made the most sense to continue their relationship. That continues to make sense going forward, especially since Brown seems to be one of the rare owners who doesn’t define success based only on whether his team wins the Super Bowl.

The Bengals have been incredibly successful over the last five years, even without winning a playoff game. Every season, 20 teams get shut out of the playoffs. For each of the last five, Lewis has positioned his team to be among the 12 that made it.

105 responses to “Report: Bengals ownership growing impatient with Marvin Lewis

  1. I get all my Bungles news from the esteemed Stephen A. Smith and the venerable Skip Bayless. They seek to think the opposite…the media is clashing! Who do I believe?!?!

  2. They shouldn’t be so knee jerk with the guy, give him a chance to get the guys he needs to build a winner. 14 years is not a long enough time to judge a coach’s ability to get his system in place for Pete’s sake.

  3. Most stories starting with “Report:” on this site end up completely refuted or contradicted within 24hrs. These sources now a days are shaky at best.

  4. I expect Cincinnati to take a backwards step this season. They were ill-disciplined in their playoff game and they blew it against the Steelers. Same old same old and they have lost some of their good coaches like Hue Jackson and Vance Joseph. Fans will be surprised but other teams have improved.

  5. Should have fired him after last seasons collapse against Pittsburgh.

    If the guy can’t control his own team, how is he ever going to win in the playoffs?

  6. That continues to make sense going forward, especially since Brown seems to be one of the rare owners who doesn’t define success based only on whether his team wins the Super Bowl.


    This statement is idiotic. The Bengals have been lauded over the last handful of years for the team they have built, how does that correlate into someone not caring about winning? So by your logic, in the last 10 years, the other 23 franchises that haven’t won the superbowl don’t care about winning either, right?

    Who knows what will happen with Marvin. Personally I believe he’ll coach there until he doesn’t want to.

  7. Why can’t the Bengals take that next step? Teams usually recognize when it’s time to move on from one coach and find the next one that gets them further. This shouldn’t be a 15-20 year plan to win a couple playoff games.

  8. Should have made him GM this year and made Hue Jackson Head Coach before losing him up the interstate. Time to let Katie take over Mike.

  9. Injuries play such a huge role in the a cowboys fan we went from 12-4 to totally suckin when romo went down..same with cincy..dalton wnt down and there is no over coming that..brady went down years ago the pats missed the playoffs..manning went out and the colts got the #1 pick the next year

  10. Most teams are firing head coaches every 4 years max if they don’t produce. I think the Bengals ownership has been more than patient with Lewis and they can make a change whenever they want and it will be well received as long as the new coach is legit.

    The fact is, he has not delivered results in big games or in the playoffs. He is a great coach in the sense that he’s built a great team and gotten them to the playoffs 5 years straight and I think 6 of 7 years, but he can’t win situationally in the big moments.

    Look at the turnovers and the lack of points in the last 5 playoff games. Atrocious.

    He almost needs to step back and be the GM or truly hand all in game management off to a really great offensive coordinator that is the future of the HC position.

    I thought this last year he did better than ever in big games, and it was a shame to see Dalton go down, but they still blew it in the end in a game that had won.

    The challenge with switching out Lewis completely is you could easily end up with someone way worse and you end up missing the playoffs for 10 years straight. It’s a gamble for sure.

  11. If a team’s ultimate goal is to be consistently a little bit above average with no playoff success, then Marvin Lewis is a great coach. If the team ever wants to take the next step and compete for a championship, then maybe it’s time to go in a different direction. Sometimes you have to risk losing what you have to ultimately get what you want.

  12. Fourteen years is a long time to stick with a coach.
    Lewis’ lack of playoff success doesn’t help things.
    Of course, his regular season record isn’t so bad.
    Rebuilding from scratch would be tough for the fans.
    I think they should have promoted Hue Jackson.
    Offensively, he did a great job last year.

    It might be time for Marvin to step away after the season.
    So hopefully he’ll be motivated to lead them to a super bowl.

    He’ll have a mixed legacy if this is it.
    In the playoffs, he didn’t do much.
    The fact that they got there is impressive, though.
    Let’s see the next coach try to even match that.
    Even well renowned coaches have worse regular season records.
    Really will be an interesting season.

  13. Marvs a good coach… but when you can’t deliver, the criticism is earned.

    Question becomes – Has Marv gotten more out of a less talented team to make the playoffs… OR… has Marv failed to get the best out of a team talented enough to win a Super Bowl.

    That’s the decision coming.

  14. “Brown seems to be one of the rare owners who doesn’t define success based only on whether his team wins the Super Bowl.”

    Like most of the birth lottery winning contingent of owners Brown is hardly rare when it comes to not defining success by winning the Super Bowl. It would be more accurate to say there are only a handful of owners who’s only definition of a successful season is bringing home the Lombardi. Even though the Giants have won one in each of the last 4 decades I don’t kid myself that Mara is one of them.

  15. Lewis’ teams haven’t done well in the playoffs that’s for certain. with that being said they can do a lot worse in the head coaching position and many teams would agree w/ that.

  16. Why be impatient with Marvin?
    He’s taken the team to the playoffs many times.
    He’s a great coach, keep him.
    Extend him.
    Pay the man!

    – signed – the Pittsburgh Steelers

  17. Mike Brown is a cheap owner. He is not going to pay big bucks to an accomplished successful coach.
    So I don’t think he is going to let Lewis get away. If he does he will hire a rookie first time coach that’s cheap.

  18. After only 5 embarrassing playoff losses??? In all seriousness, Marvin has done a great job overall, but if you want the team to go all the way, you have to have the guts to move on from the guy who made you good, and take a chance on someone who could make you great.

  19. While the meltdown in the playoffs this year didn’t help, I think Marvin Lewis is a good coach who will eventually get over that hump. He’s probably one of the best assets the team actually has.

  20. He won’t last 1 year off the job if the Bengals don’t keep him. I can name 18 coaches off the top of my head who are much worse then him. He needs to focus on his teams ON THE FIELD DISAPLINE. That Steelers game was a perfect example of “getting hooked” in a close game.

  21. Why is this coming out now AFTER Hue left? Seriously.

    Fans have been wanting to see Marvin step to the front office and Hue take over since Hue got here, and we get this insight now?

  22. The team needs someone who can lead them. They’re very undisciplined and will not take the next step until they get someone who can lead.

  23. At what point does a team demand more? The “things used to be worse 20 years ago” argument needs to go away. Yeah, it’s nice winning games in the regular season, but doesn’t mean jack if you can’t win championships

  24. I felt bad for Marvin with the way his players handed the playoff game tot he steelers last year. But, 14 years is a damn long time to coach 1 team. No one can say the bengals haven;t been patient. If I were a bengals fan or front office person, it would be playoff wins or bust this year for Marvin lewis.

  25. I’m not buying this. If that was the case NO WAY they’d let Hue Jackson walk…especially within the division if they were that tired of Marvin, especially when Mike Brown is the most PATIENT Owner there is

  26. Interesting tidbit. Marvin Lewis and Marty Shottenheimer both attneded Fort Cherry High about 15 miles outside of Pittsburgh. Bill Cowher was right up the road at Carlynton High and played against Lewsi. On the other side of town was Packer coach Mike McCarthy in the Greenfield section of the city. Four NFL coaches growing up within a few miles of each other at around the same time.

  27. been a Bengal fan my whole life and I really think I speak for a lot of other fans when I say I am extremely grateful for Marvin and what he has done here but I’m starting to not wonder if his job is done. When you look at the grand scheme of things (destiny-wise) maybe it wasn’t his job to get us to the Superbowl, maybe it was just his job to change a culture and bring a stubborn, hard-headed, and notoriously cheap owner into the 21st century.

    I hope we get there this year but if not I think it’s time to move on.

  28. Yeah the 90’s were terrible, but in the 80’s the Bengals made 2 Super Bowls. Mike Brown is the same man who hired Marvin Lewis, so why assume he would hire someone worse? The only reason I’d think about keeping Marv is that all of the good in-house candidates are gone. Zimmer was the best candidate and he’d in Minny. Hue and Jay were plucked too. I’m really not sold on Paul Guenther, but I’m betting he’s the man to take over should Marv get canned. Lets face it, if Marv loses his 6th playoff game in a row (and 8th overall), he should get fired. The goal is to win championships, not regular season games.

  29. No playoff wins in 13 years?!?! I like Marvin, but how he has not been fired in this win yesterday, today, & tomorrow league is a mystery to me.

  30. The Bengals are stacked with talent….but Lewis is holding them back. Great coaches win games with scheme even when under manned. Lewis earns his wins only because of the talent given to him. Belichick would have the Bengals in the SuperBowl every year.

  31. If Marvin Lewis was white, Stephen A. Smith and other race baiters would be saying its racism that he hasn’t been fired. The double standards in our country are ridiculous.

  32. If I may speak for a lot of Steelers fans, we hope that Cincy retains Marvin Lewis after this season.

  33. Real question should be is Lewis getting impatient with Mike Brown? The one constant in the Bengals playoff win drought is the Bengals GM has been the same and that’s Brown. Cleveland Browns are still the last Ohio team to win a playoff football game and that should tell you something especially with Gary Kubiak now being a superbowl winning coach after spending years with a bottom feeder team. Sometimes (ok most of the time) the coach gets the blame for not being able to win with players that he doesn’t even want on the team. Bengals are one of the highest penalized teams in the league. Maybe Lewis wants to coach a team where his players aren’t walking in with character issues from day 1.

  34. Jason Cole wakes up every day and tries to think of ways to stir the pot. Take anything that guy says with a grain of salt. Then throw the salt shaker at his head.

  35. I admire Marvin Lewis’ understanding of the game and the way he motivates players. What I don’t admire is the poor track record he’s had when it comes to weighing the importance of character and discipline in players. The Bengals character problems have been going on for many years. And the Burfict-Pac Man incident costing them the recent playoff win? Poetic justice.

    I’m not saying every player a coach and GM signs needs to be an Albert Morris, Luke Kuechly or Russell Wilson off the field and in the locker room. But when you welcome their antithesis on your team? … This is what you get.

    A Titans Fan Who’s Lived Through Pac-Man, Albert Haynesworth and Kenny Britt

  36. The fact this dude still has a job is beyond me. He is 0-7 in the playoffs and likely with all the turnover in Cinci this year I don’t see them making it the playoffs so my crystal ball is telling me this is his last year in Cinci.

  37. Having the Bengals in the playoffs every year gives at least 1 random team a free playoff win.

    I say STAY THE COURSE. Everybody appreciates the childlike implosions that happens every year under his watch.

    The only thing sadder than the Browns is the Bengals being competitive up until the point it counts and then just reverting back to loser status.

    Dalton is and Lewis are garbage.

  38. I look at Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati the same way I look at Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay. Both built a winning culture and organization talent throughout the team and coaching staff. Both also achieved a level of success on the field, but both also seemingly plateaued at a point. For Tampa, it was getting to the Super Bowl… for Cincinnati, it’s advancing in the playoffs.

    For Tampa, it took firing Dungy, and bringing in Jon Gruden to get over the hump, and ultimately win the Super Bowl… Maybe it takes the Bengals doing something similar to achieve that next level of success. Hell, maybe it takes Jon Gruden again… he’s available.

  39. “The fact this dude still has a job is beyond me. He is 0-7 in the playoffs and likely with all the turnover in Cinci this year I don’t see them making it the playoffs so my crystal ball is telling me this is his last year in Cinci.”

    teams don’t miss the playoffs because they lose their #3 and #5 receiving options unless they were severely on the bubble to begin with – the Bengals aren’t. There are professional prognosticators (IDK, maybe you’re one) that have been saying the exact same thing for the last 3 years.

  40. Marvin is good. No better upgrades are out there! Stay the course mr Brown! give coach lewis some time. They’ll win the north this year and hopefully win a playoff game or 2.
    PS – don’t try to tackle anyone red rider!!

  41. truecowboyfan says:
    Apr 7, 2016 11:50 AM

    If Marvin Lewis was white, Stephen A. Smith and other race baiters would be saying its racism that he hasn’t been fired. The double standards in our country are ridiculous.


    But Jeff Fisher is …….There is also like 5 maybe 6 total minority coaches, while at least 70-80 percent of the league is minorities. None are owners and a handful of GMs……… So what was your point again.

  42. Ownership is only just now growing impatient with Marvin Lewis ?!? Lewis’ failure to control Burfict and Jones in the Steelers game is only the most recent example of his ineptitude as a head coach and game manager. They don’t call ’em the Bungles for nothin’…

  43. it’s not just the playoff losses, EVERY time they have a primetime game they get trucked…he can’t get a team up for a big game…

  44. Man, if your team is making the playoffs on a fairly consistent basis … that’s a GOOD thing.

    Change nothing. Get out of his way.

    Regime changes are in now way, shape or form fun. They take forever and there are no guarantees.

  45. tylereifertisunstoppable says:
    Apr 7, 2016 11:14 AM
    That continues to make sense going forward, especially since Brown seems to be one of the rare owners who doesn’t define success based only on whether his team wins the Super Bowl.


    This statement is idiotic. The Bengals have been lauded over the last handful of years for the team they have built, how does that correlate into someone not caring about winning? So by your logic, in the last 10 years, the other 23 franchises that haven’t won the superbowl don’t care about winning either, right?


    Compare the Bengals against a team like the Eagles, who canned Andy Reid, at least in part, because he could never win a SB despite having a team who was (a) consistently successful in the regular season, and (b) had modest post-season success. Sounds sort of like the Bengals, sans the fact that Cincinnati hasn’t even managed to win a playoff game.

    If Brown’s sole criterion for success was a Super Bowl, Marvin Lewis likely wouldn’t be HC in Cincinnati today. Doesn’t seem that controversial.

  46. I would have fired him years ago. He just has no discipline over his players. He doesn’t have what it takes to win the Super Bowl. Has has the team. He has it. Be he can’t do it.

  47. Odd that it seems such a no-brainer that Lewis should keep his job because he has managed to get the Bengals to the playoffs as many times as he has. Andy Reid had much much more success including more playoff appearances, playoff wins and an actual Super Bowl appearance, yet nobody batted an eye when he got fired.

    How has that worked out for both Eagles and Andy?

  48. Marvin wasn’t able to do anything with the Bengals until management gave him what looks like a championship roster. They have arguably the best WR in the game and a great defense. Their QB, while not great, is certainly more than adequate. Good running backs and certainly the best TE in the division. Yet with all of that, he can’t win a post season game. Yeah, I’d be a little impatient too.

  49. Lewis is a good coach. They aren’t likely to find better.

    Sometimes, you lose in the playoffs, even with a good team.

    The only bad thing about him is his penchant to pick up scumbag player like VB and not discipline them.

    That might be a reason for the NFL to do something (probably not), but it definitely isn’t something ownership should fire a guy over.

    Best coach they’ve had in a long time. He’d be the best coach on the market in the last decade or two if he ever hit it. Don’t be stupid Cinci.

  50. But it’s been
    14 years of silence
    It’s been
    14 years of pain
    It’s been
    14 years that are gone forever
    And I’ll never have again

  51. I don’t think Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole has ever reported anything factual. He’s always reporting stuff like “Bat Child Found in Cave!”

  52. Marv: if you don’t get rid of Burfict and Jones, Brown will get rid of you.

    You will never win with those two morons

    Choice is yours

  53. He and Jim Caldwell are protected from getting fired for obvious reasons. Just make a call to jemele hill and screamin a Smith to say how racist it will be to fire you and you see the results

  54. Lewis in an odd way kind of reminds me of Bill Cowher when he was coaching the steelers. Both had/have great teams and neither got what they should have out of them. Cowher did get a super bowl but with the teams that guy had he should have won a few rings. I’ve never seen a coach that did less with more than Bill Cowher and Marvin Lewis is treading into that category. The Bengals have one of the best rosters in the whole league and can’t do anything with it. Time to start looking for the next guy

  55. The Bengals have only had a shot in 3 of those playoff losses, so people calling for his head need to chill out. His changes to their approach on how they picked players is a lot of the reason the roster has improved so much in recent years as that was something he negotiated when he agreed to return. You had a similar case of a guy who people ripped needlessly despite what he made out of a dumpster fire program before he got there just winning a title the other night in Jay Wright. It took Bill Cowher 14 years to win it all with a whole lot of lean years in between and more losses than Lewis has on his resume to inferior teams in the playoffs. Just saying.

  56. Marvin has done one thing well and that is drafting good players. I’ve never seen a coach actually look scared in big games but he does every time. He cannot motivate or discipline the way he should. You can tell he has reached his ceiling by the way he says the same things every year, over and over.

  57. Alright well since you all made it obviously clear at Marvin’s time in Cincy has run its course who do you all expect to be hired to replace him and produce more? As far as I know there’s no head coach out there that’s just waiting to take a team to the Super Bowl. Maybe Jon Gruden that’s the only person I can think of and even he I think would be sub-par as an upgrade over Marvin.

  58. Playoffs are a given with Cincy, the man had better win when they get there or this will be his last year and rightfully so. Pitt is about to go on a downward spiral with the demise of Ben. The good news for Ben is that he is now fat enough that his last name fits nicely on his back. Balt and Cleveland are not really close.

  59. Funny — because the Buffalo Bills became the poster boys for losing after those four Super Bowls.

    I am going to make an irrelevant comment in this post too. I realize you have won (lol, I said you as if YOU had anything to do with them winning) 4 super bowls, but NE also lost 4 as well.

    I mean if people are going to knock Favre for being all time td leader and int leader at the same time, then we should remind everyone that while NE has won 4 bowls, they have lost 4 too.

  60. Last season’s playoff collapse was a direct result of signing low character guys. The management decided that they (and the Cowboys) would sign every morals-lacking talented player because they were cheap. It worked for awhile, but bit them in the rear when they melted down.

  61. he should have been gone 3 years ago…i have never seen enough creativity in the Offense to get them over the hump.

  62. I think Marv is a good coach and done a great job bringing the perennial cellar dwellers back to relevance…That said I liken the situation to the NBA’s Warriors…Marc Jackson a very good coach groomed a very young team but it took bringing in Steve Kerr to get them over the championship hurdle

  63. Marvin Lewis is a affirmative action hire, and the media will protect their cause at all costs. As a fan, the Bengals are who we think they are.

  64. He has been tuned out. He needs to go. He did great in helping change that organization and bringing it into the 21st century (for real, they are talented, deep, home-grown and very smart with the cap). But someone else will need to come in, be a new voice that commands respect and confidence in big moments and help the talent fulfill itself in those big moments.

  65. In the words of Pat Kirwan, when fans want to get rid of their coach bc he hasn’t gotten over a hump: Who are you gonna replace him with? If you don’t have a GOOD candidate in mind AND a reasonable belief of getting him, don’t be in such a hurry to get rid of him. A lot of Eagle fans wanted Andy Reid fired. How has that worked out for the Eagles?

  66. AJ McCarron wasn’t even a prospect, a 5th rounder (where 3rd stringers and PS players usually come from) probably best known for his girlfriend. So, it’s definitely hard to expect much when your starter goes down and an unheralded rookie takes over. Even though he played well who knows what could’ve happened and you can’t blame Marvin.

    That said, it’s also a little bit of an exaggeration to says the Bengals were always bad. They made 2 Super Bowls in the 80s (a recent comment here talked about them being basement dwellers all through the 80s and 90s), but they definitely had a dark period for about a dozen years before Lewis.

  67. Marvin Lewis is the best thing that’s happened to the Bengals in their history. Period.

    This story is nonsense. I have direct knowledge that this is not how ownership feels, it’s the opposite. He’s got that job as long as he wants it.

  68. Before the Bengals do anything rash, they should read the Lovie Smith case study from Chicago.

    The team could dump Marvin and sink out of sight.

    The grass may always look greener elsewhere — but it is too often crabgrass you’re looking at.

  69. Lewis is a good deal for Brown – he only has to pay him 11 months a year because he knows Lewis doesn’t work in January.

  70. I cannot believe an owner would keep a Coach that has not made the SB in recent memory, and cannot control his players’ emotions on the field. What’s wrong with you Mr. Rooney? 😉

  71. pftbro says:
    Apr 7, 2016 11:17 AM
    Keeping Lewis is good news for the rest of the division…

    Ok, to you and all others saying similar things:

    The Ravens have dropped 5 straight to the Bengals, the Browns got swept last season by a combined score of 68-13, and the Steelers lost to the Bengals in Pittsburgh. Why the heck would they be happy about that?

  72. I will speculate that one of the reasons Brown keeps Lewis other than having a winning record is replacing him “cheaply” as Brown is inclined to do doesn’t sit well with other potential candidates. The Bengals owner is a certified tightwad according to all that have dealt with him.

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