Fay: Lewis blew 7 chances at the Super Bowl. Can he get Bengals there in 2 extra years?

Bengals staying the course a bit more
Posted at 5:33 AM, Jan 03, 2018

CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis will address the local media on Wednesday. We’ll get a better idea of what promises and reassurances he got that led to his return as Bengals coach then.


My guess is we get some vague platitudes about being on the same page with owner Mike Brown and all that.

But here’s the thing: Lewis already had everything he needed to get the Bengals to the Super Bowl. He had it in 2005. He had it in 2009. He had it in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. And he had it in 2015. He’s gets a pass in ’05 because of the Carson Palmer injury and in ’11, which was Andy Dalton’s first year.

But the other five playoff losses are on him. The Bengals were good enough to win any of those games and didn’t. 

Sure, the players each had a role. But football is a bottom-line business for coaches, and the team Lewis coached did not get it done. 

Seven times in seven tries.

Now, he gets two more whacks at it. With teams that aren’t likely to be as good as the ones he failed with in the past. 

Only in Bengal-land do such things happen.

Lewis has done a great job as the Bengals' coach right up to those playoffs losses. He turned the franchise from joke to perennial contender. However, after three weeks of thinking his time here was over, something changes. 

You knew Lewis was coming back as soon as he took the podium Monday. Outgoing coaches don’t meet the press. Lewis was asked to address the fans.

“Well I think if you’re a real fan, then stay the course and understand we’re not happy with what transpired this season,” he said. “I am here, we’re going to do everything in my power to get us to be world champions. That’s what my job is. Nothing short of that is acceptable. That’s the way it is in my mind. That’s why I do what I do. That’s the hard part — there is only one (team) that gets to do that, and unfortunately it’s not going to be us. So we got to go back to work when that time comes, and build a better football team — one that will win games. We didn’t close games. We had a myriad of things that we didn’t overcome, so we got to do a better job.”

Joe C. Bengal Fan out there would have responded thusly: “We’ve stayed the course. You have had your chance. Now it’s time to move on and give someone else a chance.” 

And that’s fair. If ever a fan base was due a fresh start, it’s this one. 

I spent some time with some buddies right after Monday’s news conference. I told them I was sure Lewis was back. They’re all Bengal fans. None of them was shocked. They weren’t angry. They were resigned to the fact that this is the way Mike Brown and Co. operate. 

If you sign up to be a Bengal fan, that’s part of the deal. 

So Lewis gets two more chances. Maybe he gets that playoff win this time around. It’s hard to imagine the Bengals even getting to the playoffs either of the next two years. 

Whatever Brown promised Lewis the last couple of days is unlikely to have changed that. 

But after Lewis’ previous bizarre return in 2010, the team went on the best run in its history. Maybe he can do that again.

The key is turning the run into more than a one-and-out in the playoffs.