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ESPN article ranks Marv Levy # 17


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#1 WIDE LEFT

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:47 PM

ESPN article ranks Marv # 17  in rating of all time coaches. I think that's fair, and that Marv achieved great things as a coach here. I admire much of what he did and stands for, but I do not believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame. He was handed an unbelievably talented roster - the two most important positions (QB and pass rusher) he had hall of famers, including arguably a best ever (Bruce Smith). Toss in a hall of fame RB, the best special teams player ever (Tasker) and the greatest linebacker who will never make the hall of fame (Bennett). My biggest criticism of Marv is his failure recognize what his team was and coordinate offensive & defensive philosophies. The Bills had one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history, virtually unstoppable at times. Given that, what is the worst possible defensive philosophy/scheme you could adopt? Well the one Marv did, a bend don't break type defense. With an offense like the Bills had, the last thing you would want is a defense that bends and allows the opposing team to possess the ball for long periods of time, keeping your prolific offense on the sideline. Should have an attacking, high risk defense because even if you give up a quick TD, you have that great offense getting the ball back. This killed them in the first Superbowl, as the Giants held the ball for large chunks of time. Terribly out coached that game. When your defensive philosophy is so badly mismatched to the offense you have, that is on the head coach. It was Marv's biggest failure.

#2 Joe_the_6_pack

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 05:51 PM

Those teams were all about the players not the coaches. The K-gun offense was improvised on the field, and "read and react" defense featured a lot of improvisation on the field too. The GM Polian who sourced the players had a lot more to do with the success than the coaches.

#3 billrooter

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:14 PM

Marv Levy is a great guy but before he came to Buffalo he was a sub 500 coach in the nfl, many coaches would have succeded with the talent he inherited. I would in fact go out on a limb and say if the Bills' had a coach a caliber of Parcells, Johnson, or Gibbs they would have definitely have won the first super bowl and quite possibly another or two. The bills' staff was really out coached in those super bowls and probably a lot of other games while he was here, but they has a ton of talent!

#4 swnybillsfan

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:56 PM

could we maybe give marv a bit of credit for bringing together that group of hugely talented but extremely tempermental egomaniacs? seems like there were 1 or 2 very difficult personalities mixed in there. and marv seemed to know what to say, when and how to say it. marv may never have one the big one, but i think there is a reason that he is revered, loved and respected the way he is. best coach ever? not remotely. classy guy that deserves his place in the history books and in the hearts of bills nation, absolutely!

#5 WIDE LEFT

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 06:59 PM

View Postswnybillsfan, on 26 May 2013 - 06:56 PM, said:

could we maybe give marv a bit of credit for bringing together that group of hugely talented but extremely tempermental egomaniacs? seems like there were 1 or 2 very difficult personalities mixed in there. and marv seemed to know what to say, when and how to say it. marv may never have one the big one, but i think there is a reason that he is revered, loved and respected the way he is. best coach ever? not remotely. classy guy that deserves his place in the history books and in the hearts of bills nation, absolutely!

Well I think I did - re read the first two sentences of original post. I admire much of what he did, just don't believe he belongs in Hall of Fame.

#6 Buftex

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:01 PM

View Postswnybillsfan, on 26 May 2013 - 06:56 PM, said:

could we maybe give marv a bit of credit for bringing together that group of hugely talented but extremely tempermental egomaniacs? seems like there were 1 or 2 very difficult personalities mixed in there. and marv seemed to know what to say, when and how to say it. marv may never have one the big one, but i think there is a reason that he is revered, loved and respected the way he is. best coach ever? not remotely. classy guy that deserves his place in the history books and in the hearts of bills nation, absolutely!

Giving any Bills from the Super Bowl era teams is not chic or in vouge on TSW.  According to them: Marv was not really a good coach, Jim Kelly was a drunk who partied too much, Thurman lost his helmet, Andre Reed was an overrated diva, and Bruce Smith was "all about me"... that is the way it is now...

I sometimes think, if this team ever really does turn it around, there are some who are so jaded, they won't be able to enjoy it, and will do their damndest not to let anyone else enjoy it.

Edited by Buftex, 26 May 2013 - 10:03 PM.


#7 Tcali

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 10:54 PM

I dont think he is anywhere near deserving of 177 all-. he was a good coach.Thats all.

View Postbillrooter, on 26 May 2013 - 06:14 PM, said:

Marv Levy is a great guy but before he came to Buffalo he was a sub 500 coach in the nfl, many coaches would have succeded with the talent he inherited. I would in fact go out on a limb and say if the Bills' had a coach a caliber of Parcells, Johnson, or Gibbs they would have definitely have won the first super bowl and quite possibly another or two. The bills' staff was really out coached in those super bowls and probably a lot of other games while he was here, but they has a ton of talent!
I don't think Parcells was very good either.take belichek away from him and he is a slightly above avg coach.

Edited by Tcali, 26 May 2013 - 10:52 PM.


#8 mrags

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:10 PM

I've said for years Marv doesn't deserve to be in the HOF. It was the GM and players, not the coach. If the coach was anything more than a grown mans babysitter we would have won at least 1.

I did a little study a few years ago and found that, of the few coaches in the HOF that don't have a SB Ri g, Marv had the worst w/l record I believe.

Can't quite remember though. Was a long time ago.

#9 Jim in Anchorage

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:19 PM

Never liked Levy after his anti hunting remarks. Stick with football butt wipe. I believe it was Kent Hull [God bless em]  who showed up at the next players meeting in full hunting camo to show the old fart what he thought about it.

#10 San Jose Bills Fan

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Posted 26 May 2013 - 11:47 PM

View PostJim in Anchorage, on 26 May 2013 - 11:19 PM, said:

Never liked Levy after his anti hunting remarks. Stick with football butt wipe. I believe it was Kent Hull [God bless em]  who showed up at the next players meeting in full hunting camo to show the old fart what he thought about it.

So you'll dislike a person on balance based on one issue?

#11 folz

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:27 AM

Honestly, you people do not know what you're talking about. You were either too young to watch Marv
as a coach or you're so disgusted with Bills football of the last 12 years that you're just ragging on everyone.

I think too many people discount how good of a coach he was because of his lackluster outing as a GM.

Marv was a great coach!!!! Do you really think it is just a fluke that he is in the HOF and still considered one
of the 20 best of all time?

Oh right, it's just because he got lucky to have great players...
What about Shula having Unitas, Griese, and Marino
Or Jimmy Johnson having Aikman, E. Smith, and Johnson...just for a start
Any team that makes a Super Bowl has great/all pro/HOF players. If you say that for
Marv, you have to say that about every other Super Bowl coach
Walsh...Montana, Rice, etc
Knoll...Bradshaw, Greene, Stallworth, Franco, Swan, etc.
That is just such a bad argument.

That Bills team was full of egos...Marv united them, made them a family. It was war, us against them,
being accountable to the other men in the trenches with you. He inspired that team. Do you really
think without Marv's leadership they would have gone to the Bowl 4 times? No, that team would have
been at each other's throats (remember the bickering Bills) and imploded. They persevered because
of what Marv instilled in them. They didn't achieve in spite of him, they achieved because of him.

He may not have been the architect of the K-gun/no-huddle, but he definitely had a hand in it (if you remember
how it came about---after the Cincinatti game) and he had the final say on using it, how they would use it,
allowing his QB to call the plays, etc. and ended up overseeing one of the most prolific offenses
ever. And it was due to Marv that Special Teams became important again league-wide and made a name
for Steve Tasker and Mark Pike.

What? Marv was only a .500 coach in the NFL before coming to Buffalo?...Well, Bill Belichick was under .500 in 5 years
at Cleveland and 1 year in New England before Brady took over. Marv also coached in the Canadian League.
In 5 years up in Canada, he was in the Grey Cup (their Super Bowl) 3 out of 5 years, winning 2. And although,
his time with the Chiefs wasn't completely successful, he had inherited a horrendous 2-12 team and each year
they improved to 4, 7, 8 wins, then 9-7 in 1981 (before a strike shortened season).

The reason we failed in the Super Bowls was because the league was changing at that time to bigger, beefier
offensive lines and our small 3-man front couldn't stop the run consistently enough against those new O-lines
(Washington and Dallas). And sure the Giants (Parcells and Belichick) had a good game plan in SB XXV to
use a time sucking ground attack to keep the Bills offense off the field, but it's not like he was severely out coached,
we lost the game by 1 point for Christ's sake and if Norwood's FG goes through we would have won. And don't forget,
in week 15 of that same year, we had beaten that same Giants team in the Meadowlands 17-13. Those teams were so evenly
matched and those were two hard fought, close games.

Marv is the only coach to go to 4 consecutive Super Bowls (do you know how hard that is even though they lost them)?
He was also the coach of the greatest NFL comeback of all time.
In an 8 year stretch, his Bills won the AFC East 6 times.
He was Skyline Conference Coach of the year both years he coached at the University of New Mexico.
He also won Southern Conference Coach of the Year awards 2 out of 5 years he was at William & Mary.
Won the Annis Stukus Trophy (Coach of the year in the Canadian League) in 1974.
Was NFL Coach of the Year in 1988 and AFC Coach of the Year in 1988, 1993, and 1995.
One of only 2 coaches (Tom Flores was the other) to have a winning record (17-6) against the winningest coach
in the history of the NFL (Shula).
One of only 14 coaches to win at least 100 games with one team.
One of only 2 coaches (Bud Grant, the other) to appear in both Grey Cup Championship and the Super Bowl.
Over a 10 year span (1988-1997), an entire decade, the Bills won more games than any team in the AFC and
2nd only to San Francisco in the entire NFL (I'm sure coaching had nothing to do with that...right?)


I just don't understand this revisionist history. Give the man his due and have some respect for not only one
of the best Bills coaches ever, but one of the best of all-time.

"Where would you rather be than right here, right now"

"When it's too tough for them, it's just right for us."

Come on Man!

Edited by folz, 27 May 2013 - 12:45 AM.


#12 Jim in Anchorage

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:52 AM

View PostSan Jose Bills Fan, on 26 May 2013 - 11:47 PM, said:



So you'll dislike a person on balance based on one issue?
Yes. When he tells me I [and many others] are cowardly sackless killers. He wasn't just not interested in hunting he made it a point to tell every one what backward scum hunters are. Did that bother me? Yes. He put out some very ignorant uninformed statements on a subject that he knew nothing about and no one asked him about.
Go back to you're ivory tower Marv. Read some poetry.

Edited by Jim in Anchorage, 27 May 2013 - 04:27 AM.


#13 Joe_the_6_pack

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 01:16 AM

View PostSan Jose Bills Fan, on 26 May 2013 - 11:47 PM, said:

So you'll dislike a person on balance based on one issue?
When it comes to guns n' killin' fer' fun, yeah. I take it you havent visited PPP? he's not alone

Edited by Joe_the_6_pack, 27 May 2013 - 01:30 AM.


#14 bbb

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 01:34 AM

View PostJim in Anchorage, on 26 May 2013 - 11:19 PM, said:

Never liked Levy after his anti hunting remarks. Stick with football butt wipe. I believe it was Kent Hull [God bless em]  who showed up at the next players meeting in full hunting camo to show the old fart what he thought about it.

I've disagreed with Marv's politics when he's talked about them, but he's my all time favorite sportsman (coach or athlete)................And, it was Joe Devlin, not Kent Hull.

View Postmrags, on 26 May 2013 - 11:10 PM, said:

I've said for years Marv doesn't deserve to be in the HOF. It was the GM and players, not the coach. If the coach was anything more than a grown mans babysitter we would have won at least 1.

I did a little study a few years ago and found that, of the few coaches in the HOF that don't have a SB Ri g, Marv had the worst w/l record I believe.

Can't quite remember though. Was a long time ago.

Anybody who doesn't think Marv had a lot of influence in who Polian picked as players doesn't realize that Marv was Polian's mentor, not the other way around..............And, I've recently seen Polian talk about them building a consensus on players.

Marv as a GM was only a figurehead.  I think if he was younger, and was a real GM, he would have been a great one.  He had an eye for talent and was great at running an organization.

By the way, this really wasn't an espn survey or anything it was Rick Reilly's column.  I read it earlier today.  He left Bill Parcells off, which I don't really agree with, but I like anyway.............I love the picture of Halas and Lombardi before a game:
http://espn.go.com/e...-20-nfl-coaches

Halas-Lombardi pic:
Posted Image

#15 Jim in Anchorage

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 01:37 AM

View PostJoe_the_6_pack, on 27 May 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:


When it comes to guns n' killin' fer' fun, yeah. I take it you havent visited PPP? he's alone
Actually I was more into bow hunting when Marv made his statements. And yes I understand I deal with largely Disney/city folk here.
Edit: Love the way you put the n' and the fer' in there. That is so clever and funny!

Edited by Jim in Anchorage, 27 May 2013 - 04:40 AM.


#16 Buftex

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:18 AM

What a depressing thread this is.

#17 bbb

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:38 AM

View PostBuftex, on 27 May 2013 - 02:18 AM, said:

What a depressing thread this is.

I'm just happy he didn't die.  That's what I was afraid of when I clicked in..........I think of him and Jack Ramsey as these ageless wonders.  Both late 80s, I believe...........And, Dr. Jack is now battling bone cancer.  He had already decided this was his last year of calling games.  But, he had to quit early.  But, true to form he's driving himself to and from treatment, and he plans on being to his usual Jersey Shore place in June.

#18 KollegeStudnet

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 02:39 AM

The dilemma if Wade was the DC during the Super Bowl years was a good way of looking at the change in D

#19 vorpma

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:01 AM

Troy Aikman back in the 90's stated that going to four straight Super Bowls was great acheivment and would probably never be accomplished again, lauding the Bills for the accomplishment.

I would love the chance to get mad about being out coached in a Super Bowl game again, have the world come to an end because we lost two games in a row in route to the playoff, or Monday morning QB a winning QB.

Commencing in 1986 for 14 seasons, the Bills going into week 15 for twelve seasons.

#20 Buftex

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 03:09 AM

View Postbbb, on 27 May 2013 - 02:38 AM, said:

I'm just happy he didn't die.  That's what I was afraid of when I clicked in..........I think of him and Jack Ramsey as these ageless wonders.  Both late 80s, I believe...........And, Dr. Jack is now battling bone cancer.  He had already decided this was his last year of calling games.  But, he had to quit early.  But, true to form he's driving himself to and from treatment, and he plans on being to his usual Jersey Shore place in June.

Yeah, I think Levy was fantastic.  I choose to ignore the Marv as GM years, and I give him credit for stepping down. I heard him say he wasn't comfortable in the role, and, basically, took the job at Mr Wilson's request, not really knowing what his role would be.  As you said earlier, he was more a figurehead than a traditional GM.  It didn't go well, but I tend to blame that as much, if not more, in the owner than on Levy.

I just find the fact that we can't even agree that the most successful coach in the history of the franchise we devote so much time to was a pretty damn good coach, whether he was a delegater or administrator, or whatever it was, it worked better than any other set up the Bills have ever had.  People say "a real coach" would have gotten a ring or two with all that talent...but then they say the players themselves were "overrated" and generally well respected coaches, such as Bill Parcells are "overrated"...it is just tiresome and depressing.  We can't enjoy anything it seems.

View Postvorpma, on 27 May 2013 - 03:01 AM, said:

Troy Aikman back in the 90's stated that going to four straight Super Bowls was great acheivment and would probably never be accomplished again, lauding the Bills for the accomplishment.


I heard Parcells once say (around the time of Levy's induction into the HOF) that getting a team to a Super Bowl 4 times was impressive, the fact that they lost each one, in some ways, he said, made the the achievement all the more impressive.