In what has become an annual rite of spring and/or summer Bengals president Mike Brown reached another one-year extension Wednesday with head coach Marvin Lewis, this one running through 2016 in what would be his 14th season with the club.
Only Bill Belichick, beginning his 16th season in New England, has been the head coach of the same team longer than Lewis among current NFL head coaches.
Lewis, 56, is working on a run of four straight play-off berths, five in the last six seasons, 40 victories since he and Brown started from scratch in the wake of the 2011 Carson Palmer trade, and his fourth straight one-year extension.
His 0-6 record in the postseason has tied an NFL record, but Brown has staunchly defended Lewis' ability to make his team a perennial playoff participant in the rough AFC North. Only New England, Denver, and Green Bay have reached the postseason in the last four seasons and in the last three seasons the Bengals' 31 wins over the past three seasons stand fifth in the NFL.
"I appreciate the commitment by management to the direction of our team," Lewis said in the 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."
Cincinnati Bengals 2015 season matchups
Brown covets what the extension means for him and Lewis, stability in a league of unstable situations and no lame-duck questions in a media world feasting on all kinds of fowl. The Sept. 13 opener in Oakland is a good example, when the Bengals play a franchise working on its third head coach since they fired current Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson at the end of the 2011 season. Since then, the Raiders are 11-37.
Lewis' 100 career victories (100-96-2) have a big lead on Sam Wyche's 64 in eight seasons. Cincinnati has reached double digits in wins each of the last three seasons for the first time in club history. On Wednesday, in the wake of what they see as a successful foray shoring up their roster during the last month, Brown endorsed him again.
"We have worked together with Marvin for many years, things are going well for the team, and Marvin deserves credit for that," Brown said in the same statement. "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."
According to coacheshotseat.com, Lewis makes $4.5 million, 19th on the list of 32 NFL coaches.