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Marvin Lewis: I'll walk away if Bengals win Super Bowl

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The Cincinnati Bengals have gone 24 years without a postseason victory, the NFL's longest active streak of ignominy.

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If Marvin Lewis puts an end to that drought in emphatic fashion with a Super Bowl victory in February, he plans to honor owner Mike Brown and walk off into the sunset.

"I want to hand Mike the trophy," Lewis said Tuesday, via the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Daugherty, "then just walk away."

Although the 13th-year head coach signed an extension in April, he was not joking about the sunset, Daugherty added.

Since the 1970 merger, Lewis and Steelers Hall of Famer Chuck Noll are the only head coaches to last 12 consecutive seasons in one organization without a Super Bowl appearance. Whereas Noll's four Lombardi Trophies in the 1970s provided bulletproof job security, Lewis shares the worst playoff record (0-6) in NFL history.

To Lewis' credit, he has managed to compile a 100-96-2 record, which stands in stark contrast to the combined 55-149 (.270) mark for all other Bengals coaches under Brown.

"Marvin Lewis raised the Titanic," NFL Media analyst and former Bengals safety Solomon Wilcots recently expressed to Around The NFL's Dan Hanzus. "This team was at the bottom of the ocean when he came in. They are (now) a perennial playoff team."

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Lewis and his coaching staff have assumed more control over personnel matters in recent years, with Brown gradually fading into the background.

"I know what's important to him, he knows what's important to me," Lewis explained. "Not (about) players, not necessarily football. The evolution of the building, the transition we've made."

The Bengals were surfacing from over a decade of futility as one of the most embarrassing franchises in professional sports when Lewis was hired.

He might have raised the Titanic, but his team has conjured up a different brand of "laughingstock" -- as offensive coordinator Hue Jackson recently referenced -- for the annual rite of January when they lose on the first weekend of the playoffs.

Armed with a stacked roster that coaching intern T.J. Houshmandzadeh has compared favorably to the franchise record-breaking 2005 squad that ended a 14-year streak without a winning record, Lewis is cautiously optimistic about his chances this season.

"We're good enough," Lewis said, "but we have to play good enough."

If the Bengals play up to Lewis' expectations, he won't be walking the halls of Paul Brown Stadium next season. If they bow out again in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, on the other hand, don't be surprised if it's embattled quarterback Andy Dalton who vanishes from Cincinnati in 2016.

"The only thing holding Cincinnati back is Andy Dalton," one NFL scout recently opined to Bleacher Report. "That's a fact. He's keeping them from a Super Bowl."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Tom Brady's lawsuit and debates which veteran players are most likely to be cut.

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