Marvin Lewis
Head Coach


Marvin Lewis in 2017 extends his Bengals-record head coaching tenure to 15 seasons, nearly twice that of Paul Brown (1968-75) and Sam Wyche (’84-91), who are tied for second with eight seasons each.

      Marvin Lewis in 2017 extends his Bengals-record head coaching tenure to 15 seasons, nearly twice that of Paul Brown (1968-75) and Sam Wyche (’84-91), who are tied for second with eight seasons each.

      Lewis has led his teams to the postseason seven times, including a five-year run from 2011-15. The total number of playoff trips and the five-year streak of consecutive appearances are Bengals records, and the Bengals were one of only four NFL teams to reach the playoffs every year from 2011-15.

      The playoff run ended in 2016, however, as Cincinnati finished 6-9-1. The Bengals’ last five losses came by a total of 16 points. Injuries were a greater-than-usual factor, and crucial missed place kicks plagued the team to an extent not seen for many years. But Lewis is known for his mantra that in the end, a team “earns” its final record.

      “We have to do a better job in so many ways (in 2017),” he says. “We have to push players to pull more out of them. The result was not good enough. Too many missed opportunities. We have the ability to make it better.”

      Lewis opens 2017 season with 118 career victories, the most in Bengals history by a margin of 54 over Wyche (64). Lewis’ record is 118-103-3 in the regular season and 118-110-3 including postseason. The Bengals’ 58-36-2 record over the last six regular seasons gives the team a .615 winning percentage for the span, ranked sixth in the NFL.

      The 2016 season ended with reassurance that Lewis has developed the most crucial element for a return to postseason, an accomplished quarter­back in his prime. Though Andy Dalton didn’t match his overall statistics from 2015, which included a Bengals-record 106.3 passer rating, his stats were still good and he displayed great leadership. He closed the season with his third Pro Bowl berth.

      “To me, Andy had his best season yet really, though as a team, we didn’t,”
Lewis said.

      In 2017, Dalton figures to get much more help from his receiving corps. A.J. Green missed all but two snaps of the last seven games of ’16, after starting the season with numbers that projected to team records by a wide margin in catches and receiving yards. TE Tyler Eifert, a 2015 Pro Bowler, also missed roughly half the season due to injuries. Additionally, WR Tyler Boyd figures to keep improving after a strong rookie season, and No. 9 overall draft pick John Ross also joins the group.

      The ’16 Bengals also closed with a rush on defense, finishing eighth in the NFL in fewest points allowed (19.7). Under coordinator Paul Guenther, the 2015 Bengals finished second at 17.4.

      The ’15 Bengals were widely considered as Lewis’ best team yet. Their 12-4 record tied the 1981 and ’88 Super Bowl teams for the best winning percentage (.750) in a 16-game season. The Bengals finished second in franchise history in average scoring differential, outscoring foes by 8.8 points per game.

      Lewis in 2017 ranks second among NFL head coaches in longest current tenure with one team, trailing only Bill Belichick, who is in his 18th straight season with New England. In the category of most seasons as head coach with

one or more teams, Lewis ranks fourth among active coaches, behind Belichick (23rd season in ’17), Andy Reid (19) and John Fox (16).

      Lewis has developed an impressive “coaching tree” during his Bengals tenure. Five of his former assistants have become NFL head coaches, and four of those are leading teams in 2017. The list, including their teams and head coaching tenures, includes former Bengals offensive coordinators Jay Gruden (Washington, 2014-17) and Hue Jackson (Cleveland, ’16-17), former defensive coordinators Leslie Frazier (Minnesota, ’10-13) and Mike Zimmer (Minnesota, ’14-17) and former defensive backs coach Vance Joseph (Denver, ’17).

      Lewis was the consensus choice for NFL Coach of the Year in 2009,
when the Bengals won the AFC North Division while sweeping all six division games. The Bengals also were AFC North champions under Lewis in 2005, ’13 and ’15.

      Named the ninth head coach in Bengals history on Jan. 14, 2003, Lewis started quickly. His ’03 club finished 8-8, six games better than the ’02 club, good for the biggest improvement in the NFL.

      Lewis came to the Bengals with credentials as a record-setting NFL defensive coordinator, having played a huge role in a championship season. His six seasons (1996-2001) as Baltimore Ravens coordinator included a Super Bowl victory in ’00, when his defense set the NFL record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game campaign (165). That team clipped 22 points off the previous mark. The 2000 Ravens are always an entry in discussions regarding the best NFL defensive units of all time.

      In 2002, the season before he joined the Bengals, Lewis led the Washington Redskins to a No. 5 NFL defensive ranking, serving as assistant head coach as well as defensive coordinator.

      He had his first NFL assignment from 1992-95, as linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He aided the development of four Pro Bowl players — Kevin Greene, Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland and Greg Lloyd.

      Lewis began his coaching career as linebackers coach at his alma mater Idaho State from 1981-84. ISU’s team (also nicknamed the Bengals) finished 12-1 in Lewis’ first season there and won the NCAA Division 1-AA championship.

      Lewis played LB at Idaho State, earning All-Big Sky Conference honors for three consecutive years (1978-80). He also saw action at quarterback and free safety during his college career. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Idaho State in 1981, and earned his master’s in athletic administration in ’82. He was inducted into Idaho State’s Hall of Fame in 2001.

      Born Sept. 23, 1958, Lewis attended Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, Pa. (near Pittsburgh), where he was an all-conference quarterback and safety. He also earned high school letters in wrestling and baseball. He and his wife, Peggy, have a daughter, Whitney, and a son, Marcus. Marcus Lewis joined the Bengals’ coaching staff for 2014 and remains on the staff for ’17.


     Playing and coaching history: 1978-80—Played linebacker, quarterback and safety, Idaho State. 1981-84—Assistant coach (AC), Idaho State. 1985-86—AC, Long Beach State. 1987-89—AC, New Mexico. 1990-91—AC, University of Pittsburgh. 1992-95—AC, Pittsburgh Steelers. 1996-2001—Defensive coordinator, Baltimore Ravens. 2002—Assistant head coach/ defensive coordinator, Washington Redskins. 2003-present—Head coach, Cincinnati Bengals.

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