Marvin Lewis is a rarity in today’s NFL. In 2013 he’ll be going into his 11th year as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. Even with the ‘what have you done for me lately’ mentality that floats around the league today, the Bengals have stuck with Lewis. It hasn’t always been pretty, and frankly, the Bengals have never really won much of anything (outside of a couple division titles) with Lewis at the helm. That’s not a knock on Lewis, because I think he’s done a good job in Cincinnati, but the reality is that the Bengals haven’t done anything noteworthy in almost 25 years.
So for the first time in awhile, the upcoming season comes with some expectations for the Bengals. It’s been a few years, but you can make a good case for them being the favorites in the AFC North. The Pittsburgh Steelers are clearly down, and the Baltimore Ravens are undergoing a transformation after their Super Bowl run. Those two teams have dominated the division for awhile now, but things are different this season.
So with those raised expectations, Marvin Lewis’ job just got more difficult than ever. Now, he has to live up to some serious hype, and if the Bengals still can’t take that next step, people will start to wonder if he’s really the man to get them there.
I think the head coach is more than capable of leading this team to that next level – which is basically winning the division and making it to the next round of the playoffs. Things are going to be pretty wide open in the AFC this year, so hosting a playoff game is another possibility for this Bengals squad.
If the unthinkable should happen, and this team tanks in 2013, Lewis will find himself on a red hot seat. As it stands right now, I think he deserves two more years to prove he can get the Bengals back into title contention.
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