During the 2013 offseason, I wrote 32 articles under the RPO 2013 tag. In my Predictions in Review series, I review those preview articles with the benefit of hindsight. Previously, I reviewed the AFC West, the NFC West, the the AFC South, and the NFC South. Today, the AFC North.
Marvin Lewis, Jim Mora, and the Playoffs, May 30, 2013
In this article, I noted that Marvin Lewis had coached the Bengals for ten seasons without recording a playoff victory. That was pretty unique: Since 1966, only Jim Mora had coached a team for longer without notching a playoff victory, and he was fired by the New Orleans Saints in his 11th year after a 2-6 start. Well, Lewis now stands alone in the Super Bowl era, as the only coach to fail to record a playoff win in 11 straight seasons and then be brought back for season twelve.
Since I wrote that article, though, I’ve become much more sympathetic to Lewis. For years, it was easy to take pot shots at his ridiculous use of challenges or his failure to be aggressive when the situation warranted it, but I now think Lewis is one of the better coaches in the league. He seems to have a knack for connecting with his players, he’s surrounded himself with very good coaches, and you get the sense that he has more on his plate organizationally than the typical head coach. He’s the de facto GM, unless you consider Mike Brown the real man building the franchise. And he’s developed one of the most talented rosters in the league, even if Andy Dalton turns into a pumpkin every January.
Of course, that is just cold comfort to Bengals fans who have witnessed the team go 0-11 in the Lewis era when it comes to recording a playoff victory. On the other hand, Cincinnati didn’t win a playoff game in any of the 12 seasons immediately preceding the Lewis hire, either. But Lewis’ streak is particularly notable for just how rare his tenure has been in today’s environment. [click to continue…]