In this knee-jerk, rush-to-judgment world we live in, just about everybody thinks Marvin
Lewis should've been fired within minutes of the Cincinnati Bengals meltdown against the
Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL playoffs Saturday night.
The Bengals came unglued and their lack of discipline cost them a chance to get
the two-ton gorilla off their backs, you know, the playoff futility that goes all the way
back to 1991.
Everybody from Boomer Esiason, former Bengal and CBS analyst, to the experts in the
coffee shop said the Bengals' behavior in the final minutes of the game was an
embarrassment, which is true. Esiason said Lewis should be held accountable, which is
also true. But for Lewis to lose his job, as just about everybody in the social-media world
posted, is just ludicrous.
I realize Lewis has never won a playoff game, but we are talking the Cincinnati Bengals
here. In the last five years, the Bengals have made the post-season, playing in one of the
NFL's toughest divisions. During that span, the Lewis-led Bengals are 52-27-1. You're
going to tell me a coach who is nearly 30 games over the .500 mark in the last five
years should be canned?
The Bengals record of 12-4 this season was the best in franchise history and the coach
deserves to be fired? Seriously? Oh, I know you're going to say it's not about the regular
season, but there are plenty of fans in Cleveland, Bufalo, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Tampa
Bay, Atlanta, New York, New Orleans, and many others who think differently. They'd
take 30 games over .500 and a spot in the post-season for five consecutives seasons in
a heartbeat, don't you think?
Vontaze Burfict and Adam Jones blew their fuses at the worst time, drawing two
15-yard penalties to give the Steelers a chip shot field goal that was the difference in
The so-called experts said Lewis should be accountable for their behavior
and be fired.
They say Lewis lost control of his players and needs to go.
Then Mike Tomlin should go if that's your logic. Mike Muchack, a Steelers assistant
coach and Hall of Famer, grabbed the hair of a Bengals player out of bounds and yelled
at him, drawing a 15-yard unsportmanlike penalty.
Late in the fourth quarter, another assistant, Joey Porter, who had a reputation as a big-mouth,
dirty player during his career, was on the field during a scrum. Man, Tomlin has no control
of his coaches, he should be fired tomorrow!
What the heck was Porter doing on the field, anyway? Oh, I guess when the head coach
was fined for trying to distract a runner during a game by taking a step towards the
playing field, actually going the field is no big deal. The Steelers have absolutely no
self-control amongst coaches! Fire Tomlin now!
How can the Rooney's tolerate that? (Wink, wink). How could they not fire Tomlin for
not having control over his coaches? Oh, right, he's wins playoff games!
Early in the fourth quarter, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier knocked out Bengals running
back Giovanni Bernard with a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit. Shazier clearly launched
himself into Bernard, causing a fumble. There was no flag. Nothing. Oh, he's going to
receive a letter from good 'ole Roger Goodell asking for a sizable donation, but that won't
make the Bengals feel any better.
On the Steelers final drive, Burfict tried to decapitate Antonio Brown and rightly so,
got a 15-yard penalty. He's going to get a much bigger fine than Shazier, that's for
sure. Adam Jones made things worse by yelling at Porter, who again, for some reason
was on the field during a scrum. Adam Jones has a bad reputation for his off-field
transgressions and the referees had no problem tacking on another 15-yards on him
when he said the magic words.
Incidentally, before he got to the Bengals, Jones couldn't be controlled by anyone.
Not the Titans nor Jerry Jones and the Cowboys. He's great athletic talent with a
10-cent head. Marvin Lewis must've have gotten to Jones, because up until Saturday night,
he had been on pretty good behavior. Unfortunately for the Bengals, his time-bomb
went off at the wrong time.
Jones and Burfict embarrassed the entire Bengals organization and they should be
the ones who should be held accountable for their actions. Jones is 32-years-old. If
he hasn't gotten it by now, he'll never get it. Burfict couldn't be controlled by the
best lion-tamer in the world. He doesn't get it, either.
At some point, players have to be accountable for their actions. They are grown men.
Should Belichick be held accountable for drafting a sociopath in Aaron Hernandez
and giving him a contract with a huge guaranteed payout?
Marvin Lewis is no Bill Belichick, that much is clear. But it's tough to argue with
his success over the last five years. 52-27-1 and five playoffs appearances. Who can
say that other than Belichick?
Go ahead and point out his playoff record, it's terrible, I know. But how are you going
to justify firing a guy who just led the team to its best record (12-4) in franchise history.
No coach in NFL history has been fired after a 12-4 record.
Marvin Lewis shouldn't be the first one.