(1925 - )
While Marv Levy already sits at the head of a class
of outstanding coaches of Buffalo professional teams, the Bills' accomplishments
in the early 1990s also elevate him to a status no NFL coach has ever
enjoyed. Levy is the only NFL coach to have ever won four straight league
or conference championships, and, given the turbulent state of the current
free-agent ridden NFL, that record is likely safe for all time.
Gentleman and scholar Levy compiled an impressive resume even before
his arrival in Buffalo. Following head coaching stops at the University
of New Mexico (1958-59), University of California (1960-63) and William
and Mary (1964-68), Levy landed in the NFL as special teams coach of
the Eagles (1969), Rams (1970) and Redskins (1971-72). Strong special
teams were a hallmark of Washington's 1972 Super Bowl entrants as well
as of Buffalo's Super Bowl teams. After five years and two Championships
with Montreal of the Canadian Football League, and five years as head
coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Levy joined the laughingstock Bills
in 1986, and soon happy days were here again.
The numbers alone are impressive: 112 wins and 70 losses with the Bills
(123-78 including playoffs, making Levy by far the winningest coach
in Bills history), six division championships (including four consecutive
from 1988-1991), four straight AFC Championships, a 17-5 record against
the winningest coach in NFL history, Don Shula, and 143 NFL coaching
victories (11th on the all-time list). In addition, Marv is one of only
14 coaches to win 100 games with one NFL team.
However, Levy's most valuable contributions were often intangible.
Levy was a supreme motivator, adept at bringing out the best in his
players. His leadership fostered leadership in key members of his squads,
who, like their coach, led not with words but with the example of hard
work and scrupulous dedication to details and preparation.
Levy was often seen as the perfect coach for a team laden with large
salaries and larger egos, and during his tenure, he led the Bills, who
to a man respected their coach, to unforeseen heights of NFL glory.
Those Bills exuded class and confidence, and the bearing of the teams
originated at the top, with their coach.
Before each contest, Levy inspired his players with
a question: "Where else would you rather be than right here, right
now?" Those in attendance during the evening of October 14, 1998,
can imagine no place, no time preferable to this ceremony inducting
Marv Levy into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame