The Cincinnati Bengals have gone 24 years without a postseason victory, the NFL's longest active streak of ignominy.
"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 SteelersHall 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.
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.
"We're good enough," Lewis said, "but we have to play good enough."