The Marvin Lewis Legacy

The Legacy of Marvin Lewis


Marvin Lewis’ time as the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals seems to be coming to an end.  While the last two seasons have been nothing short of ugly that should not be how Marvin Lewis is remembered in Cincinnati.  Don’t forget that the Bengals were a laughing stock and perpetual loser before Lewis arrived.  Lewis made them a legitimate contender.

Prior to hiring Marvin Lewis in 2003, the Bengals had not been to the playoffs since 1990 when Sam Wyche was the head coach.  Over the next 12 years the Bengals had three additional Head Coaches (Dave Shula, Bruce Coslet, and Dick LeBeau) none of whom ever broke 500.  In fact, Shula is the only one who ever posted an 8-8 record.  He did it once in 1996.

In 2003, Marvin Lewis’ first season as Head Coach, the Bengals managed to go 8-8 with Jon Kitna at the helm. The previous season, the Bengals had posted a record of 2-14 under Dick LeBeau.  Lewis matched this record the following season with 2nd year quarterback Carson Palmer at quarterback and in his third season lead the team to their first division championship and playoff berth since 1990.  The promising Bengals lost their starting quarterback early in the game were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers.  In total, Lewis led the Bengals to four divisional championships and seven playoff appearances. This included five straight playoff appearances from 2011-2015.

Although Lewis could never lead the team to a playoff win and the Bengals have fallen back to the bottom of the league over the last two seasons, it is important to consider what the Bengals were before Marvin Lewis.  He took one of the worst teams in the league and made them into a unit capable of winning an extremely competitive AFC North multiple times.  His accomplishments with the Bengals are worthy of praise Bengals fans should look back on his time as head coach with fond memories.

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