The Cincinnati Bengals snapped a five-game losing steak against an incompetent Oakland Raiders team. Hooray. They are now 6-8, but dead last in the AFC North.
A couple weeks ago, they lost by two scores to the Cleveland Browns, who were fired up to play against their old coach in Hue Jackson. Jackson went an abysmal 3-36-1 as the Browns’ HC. That is good for the worst record for a head coach with one team in NFL history (minimum 40 games).
If you’re wondering why Jackson is on the Bengals staff now, you’re not alone. Bengals and NFL fans everywhere were scratching their heads when the Cincinnati front office made the decision. He did help provide Andy Dalton with some of his better years as the offensive coordinator. Yet, the hire was was still confusing.
Anyone who’s been paying attention to the Bengals management the last several years did not bat an eye, however.
Bringing back Hue is one of many head-scratching decisions made by arguably the worst owner in sports, Mike Brown. Brown has consistently mismanaged players and the coaching staff while the Bengals have been under his jurisdiction.
He let Jay Gruden and Mike Zimmer, both promising coaches, move on to head coaching roles for the Redskins and Vikings, respectively. Zimmer led Minnesota to a 39-25 record in his first four seasons there, including a 13-3 record and a trip to the NFC Championship Game last year. Zimmer, a defensive wizard, would have made a great replacement for Cincinnati’s current head coach, Marvin Lewis.
Lewis is the second-longest actively tenured head coach in the NFL, behind Bill Belichick. In his 19 years with the Patriots, Belichick is 222-77 in the regular season and 27-10 in the playoffs, including five Super Bowl victories. Lewis is 130-120 in the regular season.
In his 15 years with Cincinnati, the Bengals have made the playoffs seven times. Of those seven tries, Lewis has not won a single playoff game. Cincinnati hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 and is in the midst of another disappointing season. The only explanation for him still having a job in Cincy is that he must have some serious dirt on Brown.
Many people, Brown included, might cite Lewis’s impressive resume as a defensive coordinator. As a DC for Baltimore, the Ravens won a Super Bowl in 2001 with one of the best defenses in NFL history.
2001 was a long time ago, though. Today, the Bengals currently rank dead last in the league in defensive efficiency, giving up 421.9 yds/game.
It’s completely unacceptable that Brown, Lewis, and anyone else in a position of power within the Bengals organization has shown such an utter disregard for the franchise’s fans and for the city of Cincinnati. It is hard to recall any franchise in sports history that has underperformed more than the Bengals. The last several years have been a waste of talent.
Even more baffling is how Brown has managed to not make any significant personnel changes. He continues to ignore fans taking notice of his ineptitude. They want a winning product, but clearly he wants to be frugal and mediocre.
Cincinnati ranks 31st in average home game attendance and 30th when broken down by percentage of seats filled. Bengals fans are tired of the same story. They are tired of seeing a team underachieving yearly.
It’s only going to get worse until Lewis is gone. Unless, they start to win. The front office has to open their checkbooks and make things happen or build through the draft.
Recently, a longtime season ticket holder made some demands. He insists they be met before he renews his ticket holding status again. At this rate, Paul Brown Stadium will be completely empty if Lewis keeps getting extensions for mediocre performances. Brown has to make a decision fast or suffer losing loyal fans such as the one previously mentioned.