Marv Levy has had a very successful coaching career. In the NFL he may be known for taking the Buffalo Bills to 4 consecutive Super Bowl defeats. But, that should not obscure what an achievement it is to win four straight AFC titles. As well as posting a 154-120 record (regular & postseason) along the way. All of which led to him being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Although he also coached the Kansas City Chiefs, it was with Buffalo that Marv Levy had the most NFL success. There, from 1988 through to 1997, he led the Bills to the highest winning percentage in the AFC (second to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL). Levy, the winningest coach in Bills’ history, recorded a 112-70 regular season record. He was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1988 and AFC Coach of the Year in 1988, 1993, and 1995.
All of which looks like his success has been recognised. But the Montreal Alouettes think he deserves to be recognised for his time in the CFL too. They have been very active on social media promoting their #TWOHALLSFORMARV campaign. It is clear that they believe Marv Levy belongs in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame too.
Marv Levy – Hall of Fame CV
If Levy were to be elected to the CFHOF he would be only the third person to be in both Halls. Warren Moon is in both the Pro and Canadian Halls as a player. The only other coach in both is Bud Grant. Recognised for his time with both the Minnesota Vikings and Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
So what claim can Marv Levy stake to a place in the Northern Hall? Well, if you have been watching the Grey Cup Portal games recently, you will have seen Marv on the sidelines for the Als in the 1970’s. In fact Levy was Head Coach of the Alouettes from 1973-1977. During that time he posted a 50-34-4 record with the Als. Which was the best of any CFL coach over that period.
Five consecutive winning seasons saw a 43-31-4 regular season record supplemented by going 7-3 in the playoffs. Those playoff runs saw Levy lead the Alouettes to the Grey Cup game in 1974, ’75 and ’77, winning in ’74 and ’77. Marv Levy left the CFL on top too. His last game was the Alouettes 41-6 rout of the Edmonton Eskimos. That was the 1977 Grey Cup game at Olympic Stadium. A game played in front of a Grey Cup record crowd of 68,318 people.
Consider this too. Although the Als won the 1970 Grey Cup, they had gone on a 7-31-5 run from 1967-69, and went 10-18 in the two years before Levy arrived in Montreal. Meaning they had gone 24-55-5 over the preceding six seasons to his arrival. Marv Levy brought immediate consistency and regular success to the Montreal Alouettes in his five seasons at the helm.
Support For Marv
The Als social media team have been keeping up the pressure with their #TWOHALLSFORMARV campaign. And there is wider support too. Montreal have been getting the views of former players like opponents such as Warren Moon and Al Burleson. As well as former Buffalo players like Doug Flutie and Steve Christie beause they think Levy’s CFL past got them a shot in the NFL.
His former players want him in too. ‘Ordinary Superstar’ Johhny Rodgers is quoted as saying, “It’s hard to believe that they have to push for someone who has merit…Someone who has accomplishments and has been to the Grey Cup three times with two wins one of the greatest coaches in CFL history.” Former Bills colleague Bill Polian is making the push too.
Marv Levy is 95 years old. Because of that two themes have emerged here. There are plenty of people who would like to see him get into the CFHOF. And they want him to be able to see it happen.
Named CFL Coach of the Year in 1974, Marv Levy clearly enjoyed his time in Montreal. Saying, “Everything was so uplifting – the ambience of the City of Montreal. I loved it. We had great owners and great players like Peter Dalla Riva, Sonny Wade and Wally Buono and so many others. I left Montreal not feeling five years older but five years younger.”
Does he belong and should it be now? Let us know what you think. It is always fascinating to see who gets the call to the Hall each year.
Banner Image: Marv Levey leads the Alouettes. Image from the Globe and Mail.