When the Cincinnati Bengals signed Marvin Lewis to a contract extension following the 2014 season, it threw a lot of people for a loop. Why would Cincinnati extend a head coach that had failed to lead the team to a playoff win in six tries over the course of 12 seasons?
Even after losing in the playoffs that in 2015, Cincinnati would go on to give Lewis a vote of confidence heading into the 2016 campaign. Ultimately, Cincinnati would go on to post a 6-9-1 record this past season en route to missing the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Now, firmly on the hot seat, Lewis himself does not expect to be extended beyond the upcoming 2017 campaign.
“I don’t anticipate anything happening. It’s not really a subject that’s on my mind,” Lewis said, via ESPN. “I don’t think it’s on (owner) Mike’s (Brown’s) mind, either. I’ve gone into many seasons without a new contract. It’s not a focus for me.”
This is a reversal from earlier in the year when Lewis himself indicated he was looking to be extended. Once it became obvious that wouldn’t happen, Lewis simply decided to move on.
What we do know here is that Lewis is facing a do-or-die 2017 season. Not only does the veteran head coach have to actually win a playoff game to secure his job, a deep run in the postseason seems to be what the Bengals’ brass is looking for here.
Lewis, the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL behind Bill Belichick, has posted a 118-103 mark in 14 seasons with the Bengals. He’s led the team to the playoffs in over half those seasons, but has failed to win a single postseason game.
That must change in 2017 if Lewis wants to actually keep his job.