The Cincinnati Bengals head coach has been around for several years, but it has become obvious reaching the playoffs is his glass ceiling. Though perennial qualifiers, once again his team got ousted in the first round.
And it shouldn't have turned out that way --- which brings up an even more important reason why Marvin Lewis should be kicked to the curb in Cinci. Let's look at how the playoff game against their bitter rival Steelers played out.
In a driving rain, the Steelers were grinding it out and appeared to have the game somewhat in hand for the most part of three quarters. 15-0. But then the Bengals made a couple good plays, the momentum turned, and they were not only back in the game, but actually ahead 16-15 with little time left on the clock. The Steelers only had one time-out left and the Bengals had the ball.
All they had to do was run -- not pass -- a few plays while eating up the clock, and the game was all but in the bag. What should the head coach and/or the offensive coordinator have been telling whoever got the ball? No matter what else, your prime directive is ----
Don't fumble the ball.
DON'T FUMBLE THE BALL.
DON'T FUMBLE THE FREAKING BALL!!!!
Running back Jeremy Hill (#32) fumbled the ball.
But all was not lost. Pittsburgh still had a long ways to go to get in game-winning field goal range with only several seconds left.
And then the wheels totally fell off.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (#55), who has been known for cheap shots in the past, committed another one after an incomplete pass thrown by Ben Roethlisberger. There was absolutely no reason to go head-hunting on a Pittsburgh receiver after the play was over. Tweet. Personal foul. Fifteen yard penalty. The Steelers were now at about max-range for their place kicker.
Jeremy Hill crossed himself and likely prayed to the heavens. "Please don't let my team lose/go home because of my fumble when it mattered most".
A 50-some yard field goal attempt in a downpour was hardly a sure thing. But then even more Bengal stupidity set in. Defensive back Adam Jones (#24) got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for abusing an official. Tweet. Another 15 yard penalty. The field goal attempt was now more of the garden variety.
And sure enough, the Pittsburgh place kicker drilled it through the uprights.
Steelers win and Bengals lose -- again. And all because of the main reason Marvin Lewis should be immediately fired. His team has absolutely no discipline -- NONE -- when the pressure is on. These are supposed to be professional athletes and should be expected to act accordingly.
They should not -- repeat NOT -- lose their focus, much less become totally unhinged and act like savages on the field.
So if I'm Mike Brown (the Bengals owner), here's what I would have done. Marched down from my luxury suite to the locker room after the game.
Once there, I would have pointed at Marvin Lewis and said, "Obviously you're not only incapable of coaching my team to a playoff win -- but can't even get them to act like professionals. So you're fired. Effective immediately".
Then I would have pointed at #32. "That fumble was inexcusable. You're cut. Now."
Then #55. "You've been a loose cannon for a long time and it appears there's no rehabilitating you. I want professionals on my team -- not rabid wild animals. You gone Burfict".
Then #24. "You might be Pac-man's namesake, but only an idiot would accost an official on a dead ball foul, which costs his team the game. And me another playoff game worth millions. I have no use for idiots. Shower up and hit the road. On second thought, you don't get a shower. Anybody that dirty deserves to leave here dirty. Just change into your street clothes and get out".
But chances are playoff Starvin Marvin and his above mentioned 3 stooges will be back again next year.
Everybody will talk about how talented they are, but they'll get bounced again in the playoffs.
Because in Cincinnati, that just seems to have been how it works, or not.
Marvin Lewis may be a fine man and a nice guy. Certainly the Bengals haven't been lacking in talent. But under Marvin, they have had no discipline, and never will. It's just the nature of the beast(s).
Teams like the Steelers know that if they wait long enough the Bengals will self-destruct, because that's what they've always done under Lewis.
If they ever want to get to the "next level", Marvin Lewis has to go. Thirteen years and not a single playoff win? And this guy's still around with his team as clueless as ever?