The Farce of the NFL – Marvin Lewis
The NFL has a fifteen year running joke, and his name is Marvin Lewis. How can someone do so little and still retain his job? Hall of Famers have played for him throughout his career, and still he finds a way to ruin seasons. Marvin Lewis is the new Jeff Fischer. Being a “good guy” shouldn’t be enough to keep an NFL head coaching gig. Lewis fields solid teams, only to be out-coached. His offense worked well in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but without Jay Gruden has lacked innovation. Basic Marvin Lewis football doesn’t work at the NFL level.
What makes a great leader? Adaptability and a constant broadening of knowledge. Bringing in and keeping the most talented individuals who have skills you lack is very important. A leader needs to observe before acting at all times to ensure his team is keen to the latest tricks of the trade. The most important thing is planning for your team, analyzing the most up to date information and patterns, and formulating strategies that ensure you get the job done and win football games. Does Marvin Lewis do any of this?
Let’s start with adaptability and broadening knowledge. Other than Jay Gruden’s coaching tenure, has the Bengals offense been anything other than I-formation first and foremost? The answer is no. Their offense is mediocre year in and year out. The I-formation was last successful for the 1990s Dallas Cowboys. Today’s defensive schemes will shut down any offense that has only two receivers on the field, and last year served as proof.
Joe Mixon was the featured back and ended with a whopping 3.5 yards per carry, Jeremy Hill with 3.1, and Giovanni Bernard with 4.4. Bernard is more of a receiving threat, meaning his presence equaled three or more receivers on the field.
Lewis has been solid on the defensive side of the ball, but changes his mind on whether to use the 3-4 or 4-3 every couple of years. How can you build talent around a scheme if you don’t have confidence in it yourself?
Next up is his development of talent. 14 of his 126 draft picks (to the 2016 draft) have had a career in the NFL and only a handful have done it for the Bengals. These picks typically got better once they left Marvin (i.e. Marvin Jones, Mo Sanu). Lewis’ only two good coordinators were on staff simultaneously, and both are better coaches having left. The defensive front seven basically falls apart every time they switch schemes. Imagine playing end one year, linebacker the next, and then switching back to end two years later. Not the right way to develop talent into skills.
Innovation and planning are not strong suits of the farce of the NFL. Marvin Lewis is rebuilding the team for the fourth time in his Bengals career. He’s made the playoffs seven times, which sounds great until you hear that he’s yet to win a single post season game. He’s the second worst head coach I’ve ever seen, hence his title as “farce of the NFL”. His first playoff outing was in 2005, and 2015 was the last.
Former quarterback Carson Palmer improved between 2009 and 2010, yet the team dropped from 10-6 to 4-12. Unless Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengals plan was to make the shift from mediocrity to pure shit, then planning isn’t something they do well.
In fifteen years, Lewis sports a career record of 125-112-3 (7 playoff appearances). With each berth secured, Lewis was out-coached and managed to lose the game. Plenty of coaches make it to conference championship games and even Super Bowls, and are still let go following unsuccessful campaigns. Yet Marvin Lewis somehow still has the same job…as a running joke and the farce of the NFL.