One of the most intriguing Marvin Lewis press conferences in some time came with a subtle, but otherwise eyebrow raising moment, when the Bengals head coach was asked about fan attendance at Paul Brown Stadium and how to increase it. The answer was one of brilliance, frustration and so very much Lewisonian.
"I can’t change people’s minds about things. You know what I mean? Someone has done a very good job of driving them (the fans) away from here. And he’s been very wrong."
When asked to clarify his comments, Lewis backtracked saying that "what will bring the fans back is winning and I shouldn't be thinking out loud like that."
The beauty in the statement is the life that it takes during a week with no game and fans asking, "well now who the hell is 'he' that Lewis is referring to?" Our own Jason Garrison believed that the "he" could only be two people; owner Mike Brown or quarterback Carson Palmer. Perhaps Lewis, brilliantly so, is just sidetracking fans and the media from asking for the umpteenth time, "watcha gonna do about Carson Palmer" roughly 24 hours before the trading deadline.
Could "he" be Mike Brown? Why not. We firmly believe to this day that Paul Brown Stadium would sellout in a heartbeat (non Steelers weekend) if tickets were more affordable for fans. And if "he" lowered ticket prices, it would add more people in the seats, which is to me a very logical conclusion. Of course you have to import the additional logic asking why Lewis would hint any criticism against his employer, even though Lewis has a history of vague hints directed at the front office for the lack of modern amenities towards the end of his previous contract.
But no. Brown has, at least from our point of view, largely capitulated to Lewis' demands during negotiations in early January, giving Lewis more authority over the personnel for his coaching staff, overall personnel decisions (think free agency this year) and acquiring permission to use the indoor practice facility with the University of Cincinnati -- granted the team isn't building their own, but it should suffice to give the team something indoors that's relatively closer than the 20 minute drive to Mason during hazardous conditions; something Lewis asked for.
Perhaps Lewis is slamming Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer who is well known for being one of the team's harshest critics, recently asking why people would even go to the game. In a September 24, 2011 posting titled, "Is Mike Brown's team charming you this year?", he writes:
Raise your hand if you actually plan to attend the Christmas Eve game against Arizona, or the New Year’s Day tilt versus the Ravens. You really aren’t, are you? Seriously.
At PBS, Home Game 1 is a referendum on what you think of how The Family runs things. You are not pleased. This is clear, and it is a very good thing, because nothing ouches The Family like a pocket that’s less than fat. But do you deny yourself the pleasure of NFL games, played by a team that seems to give a damn?
Maybe it's that specific posting. And it's not like Lewis hasn't shown frustration to the press in the past, most notably the exchanges with former Dayton Daily News' Chick Ludwig. Hell, maybe it's even Who Dey Revolution, who have openly asked people to boycott the team since from the onset. Or it very well could be previous players that's found other occupations, such as retirement, endorsing stem cell treatments from South Korea or being one of the league's highest wide receivers with only nine career receptions.
We're not sure exactly who Lewis is talking about, though everyone has their opinion. So let's do a poll and see who it is (because obviously Cincy Jungle polls equates total truth).
Who is "he" that Marvin Lewis is referring to?
Mike Brown (266 votes)
Carson Palmer (186 votes)
Paul Daugherty (112 votes)
Other members of the media (12 votes)
Other former players (7 votes)
583 total votes