Jan. 10, 2016

Where is Marvin Lewis He Simply Disappeared

Last night at about midnight as the crow flies I saw Marvin Lewis melt into nothingness

About midnight last night as I was watching the final seconds tick away in the Pittsburgh Steelers football season when A.J. Green sidestepped William Gay into the end zone giving the Cincinnati Bengals a hard fought 16-15 lead. Something strange happened Marvin Lewis’s ghost of playoffs past finally caught up with him again.

You, Marvin Lewis has a terrible history as a head coach in playoffs situations at head coach of these Bengal teams. His record before last night’s game was a horrible zero wins and 6 losses. He was the modern day example of Bud Grant and Marv Levy who both accumulated 8 Super Bowl losses between them. Yet at least Bud and Marv tasted victory before succumbing to the eventual defeats in the ultimate games. Those eight Super Bowl losses that would stain their glorious coaching records. The difference for Marvin Lewis is that as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. Marvin Lewis lead that unit to the ultimate prize with some say was the top defense in NFL history. So Marvin Lewis already owned a ring which neither Levy or Grant can attest too. Some same the most pressure-packed position in all of sports is head coaching a successful football franchise that never seems to taste the thrill of victory that a Super Bowl victory provides. The modern day version of that back breaking pressure has to be on the shoulders of one Marvin Lewis.

Marvin had built magnificent teams that battled in the toughest division of the NFL, the AFC North which included the vaulted Pittsburgh Steelers team which seems to have marketed the recipe for playoff victory success and the Batimore Ravens who until this season had always found a way to secure a playoff victory for seemingly forever. Then you have the Bengals, the team always with the most talent, some say the best coaches. Which this year is evident with two of Marvin’s prodigies Mike Zimmer and Jay Gruden both leading their teams to playoff spots in the second year of head coaching. Yet, year after miserable year no matter the circumstance either home or away the only thing guaranteed for the Bengals was a Game One playoff dismissal. This was supposed to the YEAR, hell Marvin Lewis took on players whose questionable actions on the field and off sometimes outweighed their immeasurable talent to perform between the chalk lines. Who else would’ve taken on a Adam Jones who couldn’t even keep Jerry Jones’s trust and was launched from Dallas? Also, the most questionable linebacker Vontaze Burflict who had Top 10 talent coming out of Arizona State in 2012 but ending up as a non-drafted free agent because 32 teams passed on him for 7 rounds. He surely had major trust issues and they determined even the Bengals that Burflict wasn’t worth the risk of a huge financial investment. Marvin saw in Burflict if was able to corral the talent a player who indeed to bring him not only that first playoff victory but the ultimate prize. He also saw the same desire in one Adam Jones, who lost the Pac-Man and was simply now Adam Jones.

He surrounded those two questionable players with true leaders like AJ Green, Geno Atkins, Andy Dalton, Reggie Nelson and the like. These were players who spend Friday’s in film studies like his men on Baltimore used to do. Of course after Ray learned his lesson in 1999 with his scrub up in Atlanta. You get better by working on the field and off the field to get better at your craft. The signs of success for this season was indeed bright but as always some fissures in the model for glory started to show cracks. First, down went Andy Dalton attempting to make a tackle on a turnover late in season. Throughout the season Burflict just dodged trouble on the field of play he was playing right at that line that distinguished great from pure damn dirty. Adam Jones just performed week in and week out trouble free. The stage was set for the foray in the jungle for the third match between hated rivals. Pittsburgh understood how to win. The Cincinnati Bengals hadn’t tasted a playoff win since 1991, so that had to learn the hard lesson against one of the NFL’s toughest playoff opponents. This was not going to be easy for either team. For almost 3 quarters the Steelers were playing like a team possessed and with each tinking minute the anxiety was building up on two players ready at any moment to show why so many had determined them unsuitable to be part of a winning environment. Just when it seems that things would really start to get ugly AJ Green snatched defeat out of the air and ducked a meaningful victory into the faithful in Bengal-Land. Hell, even Burflict had seemingly crushed the hopes of Steeler fans across the Ohio-Pennsylvania border which had lead to the first Bengal touchdown. He buried Big Ben’s shoulder into the wet turf and forced Ben on the cart and into the locker room. With the lead and another Burflict play an interception the game was in hand. Yet, it wasn’t going to happen that way on on Saturday night because all hell was about to break loose. The real game begin when Jeremy Hill had the ball stripped from him and the Steelers recovered. This is when I believe Burflict lost it mentally and things turned tragic for this team of players who step all over themselves to lose when losing didn’t even seem inevitable. Marvin Lewis had a chance to make the determination long ago to build a team that would not melt down when pressured but he chose untempered talent over controllable action. He could’ve seen the signs building up I and I also believe all America watching could see a meltdown coming. Marvin ignored the signs and everyone who’s a football fan now knows the outcome.

Marvin Lewis I love the Brother he helped build the first Ravens Super Bowl Championship defense. However he lost the game tonight because he allowed his defense's most out of control defenders to indeed lose control which in turn in a matter of seconds turned a probable win into another playoff loss. I hate to mention the word termination but I do believe that Marvin's run with the Bengals needs to end after tonight's game. Maybe Marvin needs a new environment because the thirst for a playoff victory after so many losses has caused him to make personnel decisions he wouldn't normally make. Please take him out of his misery Mr Brown because I think after seeing him in the final seconds of the game he wanted to be anyplace but in that stadium.