Bengals coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year contract extension this week, meaning he’s likely to extend his current 15-year tenure in Cincinnati to at least 17 years. That’s a long time to go without a playoff win.
But through 15 seasons, zero is the number of playoff games Lewis’s Bengals have won. They’ve reached the playoffs seven times with Lewis, but they’ve lost in the wild-card round each time.
Winning at least one playoff game isn’t exactly a high bar to clear for an NFL head coach. In fact, since Lewis became the Bengals’ head coach in 2003, 39 NFL head coaches have won a playoff game. Here’s the complete list of coaches who have won a playoff game since Lewis got the Cincinnati job:
Bruce Arians, Bill Belichick, Jim Caldwell, Pete Carroll, Brad Childress, Tom Coughlin, Bill Cowher, Jack Del Rio, Tony Dungy, Herm Edwards, Jeff Fisher, John Fox, Jason Garrett, Joe Gibbs, Jim Harbaugh, John Harbaugh, Mike Holmgren, Gary Kubiak, Mike Martz, Mike McCarthy, Mike McCoy, Jim Mora Jr., Bill O’Brien, Chuck Pagano, Sean Payton, Wade Phillips, Dan Quinn, Andy Reid, Ron Rivera, Rex Ryan, Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Shanahan, Mike Sherman, Lovie Smith, Mike Smith, Mike Tice, Mike Tomlin, Norv Turner and Ken Whisenhunt.
That list will grow to at least 40 this weekend when the winner of the game between Sean McDermott’s Bills and Doug Marrone’s Jaguars joins it. It could also increase to 42 if Titans coach Mike Mularkey and Rams coach Sean McVay win their first playoff games. And it could grow to as many as 44 with Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Vikings coach Mike Zimmer attempting to win their first playoff games next weekend.
So why does Lewis have such job security, given that many of the coaches listed above have been fired? In large part because an 0-7 playoff record is an improvement from the state of the Bengals before Lewis arrived. When Lewis was hired in 2003, the Bengals hadn’t even been to the playoffs since 1990. An 0-7 playoff record isn’t great, but it’s better than 0-0.