Bengals fans here in Cincinnati are standing beside themselves today. After spending the last two months basically counting down the days of the Marvin Lewis Era, the clock was rewound.
Marvin Lewis is staying. Bengals fans are crying.
I get that. For the last eight years, Lewis' Bengals have had just two winning seasons and zero playoff victories (despite hosting two postseason games). The team has been undisciplined, moody and ... well, poorly coached. If this was any other NFL franchise (sans Jacksonville), Lewis would have been shown the door a long time ago.
I know this sounds a bit odd, but Bengals fans should actually be happy that Lewis is coming back.
The top reason is that Lewis may actually be getting some of those items he requested granted. He wants a little more power. He wants to be able to hire and fire within his coaching staff. He wants so more say in personnel moves. He wants a bubble over their practice field. These are requests that most coaches never have to ask for -- it usually comes with the job. But this is Cincinnati and things are done differently.
I know the perception is that "whoop-dee-doo! We get a practice bubble and a crummy team for several more years!" But imagine if the Bengals didn't give him anything and Lewis walked? Who would be walking through that door? It sure as heck isn't Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher or Jim Harbaugh. It will be some coordinator that will deal with the Bengals cheap ways just to get a shot at a head coaching gig.
So either keep a guy that has probably had more power than any coach the Bengals have had since Mike Brown took sole ownership of the franchise 20 years ago ... or go back to the Shula/LeBeau days of losing and regressing as a franchise. That's an easy choice.
Not to mention if there is a work stoppage next season. For example, if the players and owners agree to a new CBA just a couple of weeks before their first game, it would be nice to have the same coaching staff in place to make the learning curve quicker.
Yes, those are small victories ... but for this franchise, any victories are nice.