With the long anticipated parting between former head coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals, the deals the Reds have made, and FC Cincinnati joining MLS ranks, there are no shortages of new faces that could soon become household names in Queen City sports. A survey was sent out to the student body regarding these recent changes to Southwest Ohio’s professional sports landscape.
Following 16 years as head coach, going 0-7 in the playoffs and a disappointing 6-10 2018 campaign, Marvin Lewis is now no longer employed by the Cincinnati Bengals. According to WCPO, while Lewis accumulated the most wins in franchise history, his playoff record is literally the worst of all time. McNicholas students commented on whether or not this warranted a change at the helm. Many of those who were happy with the move had been waiting on it for some time now.
“It’s a much needed change that should’ve been made a while ago,” senior Grant Baker said. Junior Tara Reich echoed that and said, “It is time he left; the Bengals will hopefully be better without him.”
Freshman Ruby Horgan said, “I feel like he was good, not great. The Bengals do fine during the first half of the season and quickly decline in the second, so hopefully a new coach can fix that.”
Fans of rivals even weighed in on the news. Steelers fan and sophomore Gus Gibbons said, “I am thinking that it was a good move by the Bengals. Now the AFC North will be more interesting.”
While the majority of those surveyed were satisfied with the decision, there were some who did not particularly love the move.
Senior Matt Pryor said, “I was disappointed. The blame should not have been placed on Marvin for the Bengals miscues… He is 0-7 in playoff games, but none of them were really his fault… as they just either gave away the game or just didn’t have the key players to win.”
Senior Hailey Bell said, “I don’t follow football but it made me kind of sad because he has coached the Bengals for as long as I can remember. He has also done a lot of good for the community.”
Following his team’s loss in the Super Bowl in which they could not muster up a single touchdown, the Bengals officially hired former Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor to be the organization’s 10th head coach. Taylor also served as the Cincinnati Bearcats’ offensive coordinator in 2016 in which they went 4-8 and had the 105th ranked offense in Division 1 NCAA football out of 130 teams. Almost half of the survey respondents said that they would have been happy with a hire of anyone not named Marvin Lewis or Hue Jackson.
With a new coach in the NFL, some level of uncertainty is about the only certainty that can be safely predicted. Rockets voiced their hopes, expectations, and predictions for next season and beyond. Some were cautiously optimistic. Senior Erin Kramer said, “It won’t be the best, but it’s a new start.”
Freshman Bobby Diana said, “I’m not expecting them to make the playoffs, but they could still do some damage in the league.” Others had lofty dreams for the teams’ not too distant future.
Horgan said, “My expectation is that they’ll do a little better this season. My hope is a Super Bowl appearance, maybe a win in the next five years.”
Freshman Noah Merkel was not asking for much when he voiced his hopes for the team. He said, “Do better than 6-10 when you start out 4-1.”
The Reds made a ripple in the headlines in early December by trading for veteran starting pitcher Tanner Roark of the Nationals. The ball club turned that ripple into a splash when they traded away Homer Bailey and two prospects to Los Angeles for a package that featured flashy outfielder Yasiel Puig and starting pitcher Alex Wood as the deal’s big-ticket items. Matt Kemp, also acquired in the transaction, has the potential to provide a key presence as a veteran leader. In a later move made in January, the Reds acquired former All-Star starting pitcher Sonny Gray from the Yankees whom they hope can return to form in Cincinnati. These moves have excited fans who have not had much to cheer for beyond the All-Star break in recent seasons.
Senior TJ Schimpf spoke on the trade with the Dodgers and said, “I feel it was a risk as well as a good move. Puig underachieves… Kemp might have one or two more good years left in him…”
Baker said, “The Reds made some really solid moves. Trading for Puig, Kemp, Wood, and Farmer really helped out with the offense as well as getting rid of the dumpster fire that Homer Bailey has been over the last few years… The rotation is much improved and has the potential to be really good, but I think if they can get another good starter, they will be in good shape to make the playoffs in what will most likely be the hardest division in baseball.”
Pryor said, “I feel as though the Reds are at least trying this offseason as opposed to many MLB teams. However, they seem to be hoping they can bring washed up players back into their primes. Time will tell if they will actually be able to accomplish this and if their young players can become the rising stars they are hoping they are… I expect another long and disappointing season for the Reds.”
As for more hopes and predictions for the upcoming seasons, senior Caleb Tenkman said, “ [The Reds will have] 80-85 wins next season and then playoff contender for the next few years after that.”
Baker foresees a quicker turnaround and said, “I expect the Reds to be contenders for the playoffs this year and be able to be back on top and compete for a World Series title in the next few years.”
Reich gave a realistic approach and said, “I really doubt they’ll be amazing in the near future, but I really want them to get back to their former glory.”
FC Cincinnati, founded as a United Soccer League team in 2016 is set to make its official Major League Soccer debut on March 2 in Seattle. The city has rallied around its newest professional franchise. Their fans range from die hard soccer enthusiasts to Bengals and Reds fans who might not know a ton about the sport but are excited to have a potentially successful team to claim as their own.
Reich said, “FCC has really become a staple in Cincinnati and along with their winning ability it is so exciting to have a Major League Soccer team in a city that is so involved in soccer… I really think they are going to do great in their first season as they have already beat MLS teams in tournament play.”
FCC has a short history of winning and can bring some excitement and trophies to a city that has been begging for a championship for a long time… It will also be exciting to see some world class European soccer talent come through Cincinnati.” Pryor said.
While some are excited about the jump to MLS play, others are not as easily won over. On MLS as a whole, junior Katie Limberg said, “The MLS is a joke and essentially a retirement plan for European playes… It literally just exists so when players from Europe retire they can play for four more years in a less competitive league without getting injured. Good for FCC though.”
Senior Garrett Papes said, “MLS seems exciting at first, but its quality is lower than the English Championship. Entertaining soccer is found overseas in leagues such as the Premier League. MLS is just a glorified retirement home for former European stars… The average MLS team is worth $240 million. That’s less than what Paris Saint-Germain payed for Neymar.”
“I hope that they do really well so it can bring more money to our city and give us at least one decent sports team,” Bell said.
Of those who responded to the survey, half stated that FCC gives them the most hope followed by 38% being hopeful for the Reds, and only 12% said they were they were most optimistic about the Bengals. As Pryor said, “Time will tell…”