Marvin Lewis, the Unfireable Coach, Will Be Back in 2017


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Is there a better gig in all of American life than the one Marvin Lewis enjoys? In the most thankless position imaginable, where it’s all about success and accountability, in a cold, heartless business where nothing but winning will sustain you and even then no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, he survives. Not only survives, but gets to come back on his own terms. It’s unthinkable. Which is to say, it’d be unthinkable if we were talking about anyone but Marvin Lewis. The Unfireable Football Coach.

In an industry that demands success, he’s become the second longest tenured coach in the league, despite not having any. He’s an unimaginable 0-7 in the playoffs. To put that in perspective, since he took over the Bengals in 2003, the Jets have won five playoff games to his none. And been through four head coaches. He’s outlasted seven head coaches in Buffalo and eight in Cleveland despite winning the exact same number of postseason games, just on the basis of being good enough to get his teams into January.

In the big picture, Lewis can’t win big games and he survives. In the small details, he’s in the top three in coaching challenges ever year, and he’s been successful only a total of 37 times in 83 challenges, including an abysmal 1-for-11 in 2007, and he survives. In between, his teams are OED definition of chaos, stupidity and lack of composure, like last year’s meltdown at the end of the Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh. And he survives.

I’m not even mad. On the contrary. Anyone who can survive in his career despite not showing a shred of talent for the job is to be admired. I appreciate Lewis’ “success” in the way you had to grudgingly hand it to say, Jim Belushi, for getting a hundred-something episodes out of a sitcom nobody ever watched. Surviving without any skills is a skill. And Marvin Lewis has it. Much to the delight of the rest of the AFC. So congrats to him and to the Bungles for staying the course and being who they are. Let’s hope it lasts forever.