CINCINNATI -- Marvin Lewis may currently be the second-longest tenured head coach with one team, but Super Bowl-contending coach Pete Carroll is the one NFL players want to play for the most.
In an anonymous survey conducted this season by ESPN.com's 32 NFL Nation reporters, Carroll was voted by players representing each of the teams as the most popular coach to want to play for. Maybe it's his charisma, maybe it's his seemingly loose, fun approach to coaching. Or maybe it's simply his ability to win. Whatever the reason, Carroll was their pick as No. 1 player's coach.
Where Carroll got 71 votes from the surveyed players, Lewis received just six, placing him among the bottom half of vote-getting coaches. Players were encouraged, if they could, to name a coach they weren't currently playing for.
Lewis' coaching style seems to differ from Carroll's, but he has appeared to be respected by those not only inside his locker room, but outside it, as well. There is an external appreciation for what Lewis has done in Cincinnati, particularly in the last few years. After 14 seasons of postseason absences, Lewis, in only his third season in Cincinnati in 2005, took the Bengals to the playoffs for the first time since 1990. He has followed that up with trips in 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2013. This recent playoff appearance marked the first time the franchise had been a part of postseason play for three straight seasons.
While the Bengals' lack of advancing past the first round of the playoffs has been a point of concern for most fans, the fact the team is finally consistently getting there is being applauded by players in the league. The lemonade the Bengals have made out of decades of bitter-tasting lemons has earned Lewis a measure of respect.
Still, that doesn't change the fact that he's far down on the list of coaches who players would most like to play under. Maybe if Lewis starts turning those playoff berths into longer runs, he'll have even more respect.
When it comes to non-Lewis selections the Bengals made in their particular survey, most players said they would want to play for either Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin or New England's Bill Belichick.
That shouldn't be much of a surprise. Tomlin is a younger coach who has a high respect and likability factor among players. The fact Tomlin is the AFC North's second-longest tenured coach behind Lewis, coupled with the fact the Bengals see him twice a year, may also impact their votes for him. Tomlin's Super Bowl ring may have an effect, as well.
As for Belichick, the Patriots coach likely earned his Bengals votes for the run of success he has had.