Despite reports that Marvin Lewis would be let go at season’s end, the Cincinnati Bengals signed Lewis to a two-year contract Tuesday – and fans are not happy about it.
“(The Bengals) going to take a big hit on this one – and they already have,” Cincinnati Enquirer Bengals writer Jim Owczarski said on Ferrall on the Bench. “There’s definitely an exhausted fan base. They’ve seen this act play out – Act I, Act II – and they’re not ready for Act III. Fans are burning jerseys, fans are adopting new teams and going out and buying new NFL apparel. We’ve gotten emails about ‘I am not renewing my tickets.’
“So they’re taking this hit,” Owczarski continued. “I think they knew they were going to take it. And in the end, I think the family – at least Mike Brown – is going to say, ‘Well, we’ve won 11, 12 games with Marvin Lewis in the past, he will get us there again, and winning brings fans eventually.’ But this is not going over well in Cincinnati with the fan base. I think they were wanting change.”
Lewis, the second-longest-tenured coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick, is 13-18-1 over the last two seasons. He’s also 0-7 in the playoffs.
Nevertheless, he is slated to return for his 16th and 17th seasons with he franchise.
“I’m speechless a little bit,” Owczarski said. “I just thought there was a real feeling that even Marvin was sort of done with Cincinnati, and you couldn’t have set it up for a better, cleaner break. The contract was expiring, you can kind of part ways after two losing seasons, and everybody, I think, could have saved face, if you will.”
In two years, maybe. But not now.
“All I can really think of is people really didn’t become available from the Bengals’ perspective,” Owczarski said. “What did we hear up until this? There’s going to be nine jobs open, 10 jobs open. Well, there’s only six. So maybe Marvin Lewis looked around and was like, ‘Where am I going to go if I’m not saying here?’ So I think it was one of those creature comforts: the Bengals and Mike Brown don’t like to change. Marvin’s very comfortable. The Bengals probably (said), ‘What are we going to get that’s better?’ And Marvin Lewis is looking around like, ‘Where am I going to go period if I’m not here?’ That’s the best I can do at this juncture.”