By now, the epic collapse of the Cincinnati Bengals in Saturday’s wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been well-documented. It’s not just the fact that they lost, it’s the despicable manner in which they lost.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict made headlines for delivering hits that injured Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown, which led to a suspension for the first three games of next season due to repeated violations of player-safety rules. Cornerback Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones was flagged for making contact with Pittsburgh assistant coach Joey Porter, which set up the Steelers’ game-winning field goal.
Coach Marvin Lewis could not control the actions of his players, and his track record doesn’t bode well for him: in 12 seasons at the helm he has led the Bengals to seven postseason appearances and has failed to make it past one game. That 0-7 record is the worst playoff record for a head coach in NFL history, which is why analysts are calling for Cincinnati to let Lewis go.
Adam Schein voiced his opinion on the Schein on Sports show on Mad Dog Sports Radio on Monday.
“If I’m (owner and general manager) Mike Brown, I would go down the hall and I’d tell (offensive coordinator) Hue Jackson, ‘Stop interviewing with the [San Francisco 49ers], or the (Cleveland) Browns, or the (New York) Giants. You’re my new head coach,’” Schein said. “This collapse, and how it happened, that’s on Marv.”
Schein also made not of Porter’s role in the altercation, echoing Shannon Sharpe’s comments on Sirius NFL Radio that Porter is also at fault. The league allows head coaches to be on the field in an injury situation. Porter is the outside linebackers coach; he had no business being on the field, much less antagonizing Bengals players.
“Joey Porter, assistant coach, maybe he’s not an active player but a longtime antagonist, comes out onto the field and says he wants to see how Antonio Brown is doing,” Schein said. “A: no, B: no! Joey Porter should get dinged by the league because he should not have been on the field.”
Stephen A. Smith also took to the airwaves to sound off on Lewis.
“Marvin Lewis needs to be fired. I’m not saying that he doesn’t deserve to be a head coach, but it damn sure doesn’t need to be in Cincinnati,” Smith said. “First of all, if you’re a coach, you got to have control. But especially if you’re an African-American coach and you’ve got Black players that don’t know how to act. Why the hell should you be the coach?”
Lewis’s status as one of the top coaches in the NFL is undeniable, but injuries and immaturity have him on the hot-seat. He was defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens from 1996-2001, running the league’s top-ranked defense during the Ravens’ 2001 Super Bowl run. He has led Cincinnati to five straight playoff appearances and four straight seasons with double-digit wins. The Bengals have a prolific offense and a strong defense, making them one of the most well-balanced teams in the league. But Cincinnati just seems to run into bad luck once the bright lights of the playoffs start shining. In their seven playoff games under Lewis, the Bengals average just 12.9 points while allowing an average of 25.1.
Lewis’s failure to translate regular-season achievements to postseason success makes it seem as though his time with Cincinnati has run its course. For now, though, the Bengals have shown no signs of parting ways with Lewis.