The week that was

The Marvin in Cincinnati appears to be bullet proof

Marvin Lewis of the Bengals. Wikipedia

Remember the scene in Pulp Fiction when Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shoots Marvin in the face? Well our Marvin (Lewis) is downright bulletproof.

Lewis and his Bengals knocked the Lions and Ravens out of playoff contention in back to back weeks and in the process saving his job. I joked on twitter that after the win in Baltimore, the Bengals would reverse course and give Marvin a 5-year extension. Well, I was wrong. It was two years.

By all accounts Marvin was gone. That’s what makes the win in Baltimore nothing short of a miracle. Fourth and 12...under a minute to play...Andy Dalton finds Tyler Boyd for a 49-yard TD to snatch victory for the jaws of defeat. Lost on no one in Cincinnati by the way, is that these are precisely the games that Lewis would lose...especially in the postseason.

Yet despite back to back losing seasons and an 0-7 postseason record; Marvin Lewis will return for a 16th season at the helm of the Bengals.

In a strange way you almost have to admire team president, Mike Brown. He’s known as a guy who doesn’t like change. He’s a fan of Lewis. Brown praised Lewis as “an important member of the Cincinnati community and the Bengals for the past 15 years.” I wonder if Brown still receives DVDs from Netflix too.

Now there will be a overhauling off the coaching staff. Lewis said he’s “starting from scratch”. There is also the fact the Bengals don’t have an indoor practice facility. They take a bus to the University of Cincinnati when it’s too cold.

In the end, Brown and Lewis deserve each other. You have an exec that fears the unknown. And for good or for bad you know what you’re getting with Marvin. And the players love that dude. To a man, you seemingly can’t find anyone to say anything bad about the second longest tenured head coach in the NFL. The first has had a bit more success in New England.

So Bengal fans will just have to rally. They’ll convince themselves that this year will be the year. Hell, forget the Super Bowl. A win in the postseason will be validation enough.

And remember, when Marvin Lewis took over the Bengals they were a laughing stock. Unfortunately, they’ve become a punch line.

You can listen to my radio show, The Sports Bosses , weekdays at 10am ET on SBNation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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