The Cincinnati Bengals are days away from answering a question years in the making – who will replace Marvin Lewis as head coach?
We say “years in the making” because, quite frankly, Marv should’ve been out as the HC around the time you were finishing your 2016 Thanksgiving leftovers.
Don’t get us wrong. The team experienced some good with Lewis. Since 2003 when he took the helm, the Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North four times and made the playoffs seven times.
But they appeared in the playoffs seven more times than they won a playoff game. And that 8-24 regular season record against the Pittsburgh Steelers? It doesn’t exactly put a big neon sign over your head that says “GIVE THIS GUY A CONTRACT EXTENSION!!!”
Part of the recent troubles can be attributed to the Bengals being the youngest team in the NFL last year (25.2 years), and third youngest in 2017 (25.5), So, with all that youth, why not go after a college football coach? Someone who can relate. Someone who can win. It’s been done before with success (Jimmy Johnson, Pete Carroll) and there are plenty of hot names out there.
Here are our top four:
Top 4 College Coaches Who Could Lead the Cincinnati Bengals
- Dabo Swinney – The Clemson head coach is a bigger deal in the state of South Carolina right now than Nick Saban is at Alabama – which is saying something. Swinney just captured his second national championship in three years (beating Saban) after beating Bama 44-16. His recruiting classes show how he can recognize and develop talent.
- Dan Mullen – Mullen just finished his first year with the Florida Gators. He engineered the biggest one-season turnaround at the NCAA level, improving from 4-7 to 10-3. He gets results quickly. We know a team who could use a quick turnaround.
- Urban Meyer – This one is a long shot, but name someone on this list who isn’t. Meyer recruits speed, teaches speed, and puts players in the NFL faster than almost anyone. Plus, he’s a Buckeye guy, having just stepped down from Ohio State. Don’t ask.
- Tom Herman – Expectations were bigger than Jerry Jones’ ego when Herman took over at the University of Texas in 2017. It took him a bit to get warmed up, but now, Texas football is hotter than a branding iron. Herman just capped the program’s first 10-win season since 2009 and beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
However this shakes out, Bengals fans will be on the edge of their seats until the new coach is announced. And hopefully, it’s a guy who won’t have fans out of their seats by the third quarter.