Fact-checking that Marvin Lewis press conference

Posted at 7:28 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 21:47:22-05

CINCINNATI -- Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, whom owner Mike Brown snatched back from the brink of termination with a two-year contract renewal on Tuesday, promised changes and a better team in a Wednesday news conference. Fans -- many of them in a less forgiving mood than Brown -- were less interested in his promises than in his verbal stumbles. 

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Let's take a look at two dubious statements Lewis offered up while making his case.

Lewis: "Discipline's a big word, but if you look at it, this team has been among the lowest penalized teams in the National Football League."

Twitter users jumped on this quote. One referred to Lewis as "delusional"; one Pittsburgh fan said he was happy about Lewis's renewal for the sake of the Steelers. Another just tweeted this:

The Bengals are not among the least-penalized teams in the 32-team league. They received 110 penalties in the 2017 season, tying for 13th place with the Cleveland Browns, and were penalized for a total of 1028 yards -- sixth in the league.

Bengals players also racked up the third-highest league bill in fines: Over $1.9 million for offenses including unnecessary roughness and off-the-field arrests involving A.J. Green, George Iloka, Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict.

Lewis: "I think you know that, as far as the NFL and the cap, that this organization has spent well within the top five or so every season since I set foot in Cincinnati."

Nope. In 2017, the Bengals had $11 million in cap space, the gap between the maximum amount the team is able to spend on player salaries and the amount it has actually spent. That number placed the team at 10th in the league -- not an insubstantial amount of money but far from the biggest spenders in football.