Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has been on the job since 2003. Only New England Patriots legend Bill Belichick has been the sideline leader of the same club (2000) longer at the moment. For accuracy’s sake, Andy Reid has been an NFL head coach since 1999 but has split his time with the Philadelphia Eagles (1999-2012) and the Kansas City Chiefs (2013-present).

For the first time since 2010, the Bengals won’t be going to the playoffs. It appears that the veteran coach is very much under the gun. While there was a report that stated that Lewis planned to retire after the season, ESPN disputes the notion and says that he isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

So will Lewis return for a 15th campaign?

Turning around a mindset

This franchise will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017. The Bengals have had their ups and downs throughout their history but there’s little doubt they have enjoyed the longest stretch of success under their current boss. Yes, prior to the Lewis Era both Forrest Gregg (1981) and Sam Wyche (1988) took this franchises to the Super Bowl. And both contests resulted in narrow losses to Hall of Famer Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers.

The last time the Cincinnati Bengals actually won a postseason game was 1990, a 41-14 victory over the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wild Card Playoffs at Cincinnati. From 1991-2002, the club compiled a miserable 55-137 record and lost 10 or more games nine times in 12 seasons.

Under Lewis, the Bengals are 117-103-3 and have reached the playoff seven times. Yes, there have also been seven postseason losses under his guidance. But, try and remember where this franchise was before his arrival in 2003.

The long term solution

The Cincinnati Bengals are in an odd situation. The organization fully realizes what the product on the field has been under their current head coach.

That’s despite the fact that Lewis has a goose egg (0-7) when it comes to postseason victories. But you can’t stress enough just where this franchise was prior to ’03. This is a club that has drafted extremely well in recent years and is not devoid of talent.

It was an offseason where the Bengals took their share of free-agent hits.

It would be a mistake not to retain Lewis after this one troubling season. He has certainly earned the benefit of the doubt despite not advancing in the playoffs. The next few days in the Queen City will be interesting to watch.