This was originally published in The Athletic.
Goodbyes are less difficult when a welcome has been worn out, and after last December’s tributes and legacy-rehashing proved to be premature, it seems redundant to spend much time dwelling on the lists of what Lewis did and didn’t do, even if both are considerable in length.
Mike Brown was either going to choose the comfort of more Marvin or the uncertainty of the franchise’s first coaching search in over a decade and a half. He was pitting the consequences of further disaffecting a bored, increasingly uninterested fan base by maintaining the status quo against piquing public interest by finally deviating from the franchise’s tired, stale norm.
Whatever the owner’s motivation was – I’ll make the safe assumption that thousands upon thousands of empty seats at Bengals home games were a factor – he made the right choice, and really, it doesn’t matter whether Marvin was in on the decision. Marvin had to go, not because someone needed blame for a season that once carried so much promise, not because the franchise required a scapegoat, but because quite simply, it was just time.
But if you’ve championed the cause of Mike moving on from Marvin, you’ve also implicitly put faith in an owner who’s long exhausted whatever amounts of trust and equity were earned when Lewis got the gig more than a decade and a half ago. It’s one thing to yell and scream that Mike Brown should fire his coach, it’s an entirely different thing to think that he’ll get the new hire right.
To read the entire piece, go to The Athletic.