Best Of 2018

Best Sports Love Affair: Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis

In the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, one of the more moving moments was when Jake Gyllenhaal’s aching character told his secret lover, “I wish I knew how to quit you.” Bengals owner Mike Brown seems to have a similar quandary when it comes to his professional relationship with Marvin Lewis. Sports history is littered with examples of head coaches of good teams being fired for not living up to fan expectations, but — as exemplified by Brown’s threat to leave the city over the stadium-funding debacle of the mid-’90s — fan concerns are not high on Brown’s list. So as the Bengals limped to the end of a disappointing 2017 season (their second losing one in a row) and anyone with a functioning brain seemed certain Lewis — who lifted the team from catastrophe to the upper-echelons of mediocrity by making the first round of the playoffs seven times but winning zero of those games — had coached his last Bengals game, Mike Brown mikebrowned the situation and brought him back for two more seasons. The team likely helped the cause, doing what they often do by winning the final game of the season: They knocked the Ravens out of playoff contention on New Year’s Eve with some exciting last-minute heroics and provided just enough excitement to keep just enough good vibes flowing. Bengals, bengals.com.