The Cincinnati Bengals have a big game coming up against the Minnesota Vikings, but there’s more to this matchup than meets the eye.
In fact, there’s some personal history between the two head coaches.
You see, Leslie Frazier, now the head coach of the Vikings, was once the defensive coordinator for the Bengals. Marvin Lewis was in his second season as the head coach and turmoil ensued between the two parties. Bad play often creates tension on a football club, and that’s exactly what happened between Frazier and Lewis.
Coley Harvey of ESPN.com does a good job of explaining the story:
This offseason will mark nine years since Frazier, formally the Bengals’ defensive coordinator, wasn’t retained by Lewis following back-to-back horrendous defensive showings by the Bengals in Lewis’ first two seasons as head coach. At times during those two seasons, Lewis — who was weaning himself off being a defensive coordinator — tried to step in and take over for Frazier. Specifically, Lewis jumped and executed some of the play calling in a midseason loss to Cleveland during the 2004 season, Frazier’s last with the Bengals.
Frazier then moved on to coach defensive backs in Indianapolis, and the rest, as they say, is history.
For his part though, the Bengals’ coach seemed to shoulder the blame of the fallout. Here’s what he had to say, per Harvey:
“A difficult thing transpired then, and probably more my fault than Leslie’s,” Lewis said. “Actually, it was all my fault more than Leslie’s.”
That’s a bit of an interesting back story to a game that’s going to mean a lot for the Bengals. Cincinnati can clinch the AFC North with a win, plus a loss or tie from Baltimore, or a tie plus a Ravens’ loss.