The untouchables: Five head coaches with longevity

Marvin Lewis signed a one-year contract extension on Wednesday, guaranteeing him a Bengals paycheck through the 2016 season and removing his status as a lame-duck head coach. He's been in Orange and Black since 2003 and has yet to win a playoff game. That being said, he's going nowhere and the Bengals are absolutely right to keep him around. He headlines a list of coaches who haven't won the big game in a while -- or at all -- but will be staying put for the foreseeable future.

For the purpose of this exercise, we'll call them the untouchables, but we mean no sarcasm. These coaches deserve to stay despite the constant groaning from their fan bases.

Here's our list and reasons why:

1. Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

News of his extension on Wednesday was followed by an outpouring of sadness. How can a coach that has won zero playoff games in 12 years have earned more time? The answer is simple: The franchise had been to the playoffs just seven times before Marvin Lewis arrived. They've been to the postseason six times in the last 12 seasons, including each of the past four.

The Bengals have turned the corner under Lewis and he was rewarded with a contract extension the first time around. They have a management structure that works with Lewis. They have a drafting philosophy that is moderately successful. Now, after four consecutive appearances in the postseason, they are supposed to abandon him? Make no mistake, another mega-deal might not be in his future, but don't be surprised if he signs a similar deal in 2016 even if Cincinnati doesn't get the playoff win. The time to strike in the AFC North is now with the Steelers and Ravens both needing a bit of a rebuilding. Do you chance this crucial window with a new face?

2. Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

Neither of his championship teams were particularly loaded with talent. The Giants never seem to re-sign their free agents to big deals and the ones who leave never end up making much noise. But Coughlin has always been skilled at bringing a unit together. Though it ended with a 7-9 record, his coaching job in 2013 -- bringing the team back from an 0-6 record to within an earshot of the playoffs -- tells you all you need to know about the head coach. Yes, the Giants have not made the playoffs since 2011, but the next time they do, it will be with Coughlin as head coach.

3. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

This is a bit of a cop out considering Garrett signed a $30 million contract extension and was one interesting call away from the NFC Championship Game. But after taking a deeper look, it's easy to see why Jerry Jones won't make a move anytime soon. Jones has always wanted to develop a head coach and Garrett was his man from the beginning. Since then, he's watched as Garrett expertly handled a very senior staff and delegated tasks in the right way. The result is a nasty offensive line and a defense that is a few pieces away from being the best in the division. A lot of this is thanks to Garrett's patience in a difficult situation and his maturity under pressure. Expect Jones to give him the benefit of the doubt for a good while.

4. Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers:

The team has missed the playoffs just three times since he took over in 2007 but it's beginning to feel like a long time since the Steelers have won a playoff game (Jan. 23, 2011, to be exact). That will not translate to a coaching change anytime soon, nor would anyone expect that in Pittsburgh. The organization has set the NFL's model of consistency and Tomlin just turned 43.

5. Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams:

In 20 years as a head coach, Fisher has one Super Bowl appearance, and three division titles. He is 15 games over .500. These numbers consistently place him in the overrated category, but Fisher has some of the most pronounced longevity in the game. Part of this, of course, has to do with the markets he chooses. The other has to do with speculative seasons like he had last year. St. Louis nearly took out the Cowboys and beat the Seahawks. They crushed Washington and Oakland in back-to-back weeks, pitching a shutout in each game. The future looks bright, and no one is talking about another coach to see the Rams to the next level.

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