The Cincinnati Bengals and coach Marvin Lewis avoided the stigma of a lame-duck season Wednesday morning when they agreed on a one-year contract extension that will keep Lewis on the sideline through 2016.
The NFL’s second-longest tenured coach with the same team, Lewis is 100-90-2 in the regular season but 0-6 in the postseason, including four consecutive first-round losses and five in the last six years.
“I appreciate the commitment by management to the direction of our team,” Lewis said in a statement. “It’s gratifying to our coaching staff and to me personally. The stakes get higher each and every year, and the return of our players this week for the start of offseason work has stoked our fires. I’m excited to continue our pursuit of greatness and to be World Champions.”
New England’s Bill Belichick is the only active NFL coach who has been with his current team longer, going 196-73 with four Super Bowl titles in 15 seasons.
Lewis, who according to coacheshotseat.com will make $4.5 million this year, has more victories and more games coached than anyone in Bengals history. Sam Wyche is a distant second with 64 wins in 132 games.
Lewis’ .522 winning percentage ranks third in team annals behind Forrest Gregg (34-27, .557) and Bill Johnson (18-15, .545).
“We have worked together with Marvin for many years, things are going well for the team, and Marvin deserves credit for that,” Bengals president Mike Brown said. “The extension reflects our confidence in him and how things look to us as we move forward. We are happy to have reached this agreement.”
The last time Lewis went into a season in the final year of a contract was 2010 when the Bengals were coming off a division championship. But a disastrous 4-12 season was followed by an awkward, train wreck of a press conference where Brown and Lewis announced a two-year extension and then ducked and dodged repeated questions about the direction the franchise was heading.
That marked the beginning of the “reboot,” as Lewis called it. Carson Palmer retired and the team parted ways with numerous veterans, electing to build a young roster around their first two picks in the 2011 draft, wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton.
Since then, Brown has made sure Lewis avoided lame-duck status, signing him to a two-year extension in July 2012, a one-year extension in March 2014 and another one-year extension Wednesday.
The Bengals have reached double digits in wins each of the last three seasons, and their 31 total victories are tied for fifth in the NFL over that span.
But Lewis and Jim Mora Sr. are the only coaches in NFL history to spend at least 10 seasons with a team without winning a postseason game.
Mora Sr. was 0-4 in 11 years with New Orleans. He coached another four years in Indianapolis, where he went 0-2 in the playoffs to finish 0-6.