PCFH. Press Conference From Hell. January 4, 2011.
One year ago today, I was angry. No, I was livid. Mike Brown strode to the microphone to announce that Marvin Lewis would return as head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals. I was in favor of that. But over the following 45 minutes or so after that, he said things that made me completely incredulous.
When he was done, I hated him. I hated him on a level I didn’t know I had. If I could have dropped a deuce in his shoe, I would have. (What would you have done?)
In the days that followed, as the presser replayed endlessly through my mind, I began to ponder a couple of things:
1) Everything pointed to Marvin leaving. At that moment, the successful seasons of ’05 and ’09 looked to be more accidental than anything. He looked worn down all through the 2010 season, like a man serving a sentence. A disciplinarian, Marvin was working for a “redeemer” who loves talented, misfit divas. A smart man would run. Marvin came back. Why?
2) Marvin said more than once at the presser how Mike Brown was still “the man,” the head honcho, the decision maker. With MB’s record, that was the last thing I wanted to hear. But then I started to wonder, why did he stress that so much? MB is the owner; owners can do what they want. (See also: Davis, Al. Jones, Jerry.) Why point it out… several times?
There was plenty of speculation at the time that Marvin might demand more say as a condition to return. I absolutely believe that happened. What other reason was there for him to come back without even testing the market? Mike gave in, but as a caveat, Marvin had to help the man that signs the checks save face by touting that Mike still owned the captain’s chair. (Even if Marvin would be sitting in it a lot.)
Now, Mike still has say. The Palmer near-fiasco is evidence of that. Fate and the football gods turned shine-ola into sunshine there. But plenty of other things we have seen over the last 12 months indicate that Mike isn’t calling all the shots any more.
- MB wanted to draft Ryan Mallett. Yet the Bengals drafted the Lewis/Gruden choice, Andy Dalton.
- MB trades nothing. Ever. Yet the Bengals send a player to Seattle for Kelly Jennings, a pick to SanFran for Taylor Mays, and a player to NE for a pick.
- MB loathes firing coaches. Yet the much-hated Bob Bratkowski was sent to the curb.
- MB discounts nothing. Ever. Yet the Bengals just lowered ticket prices for over 1/4 of PBS for 2012.
These are all positive moves. Moves Mike Brown never, ever makes.
If it took the PCFH to make them happen, then let’s make it a Bengals holiday.