Marv Levy is about to join a very select professional football group.
Friday night, the former Buffalo Bills and Montreal Alouettes head coach will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
He will become the third person to be in both the Canadian and Professional Football Hall of Fame, joining former Minnesota and Winnipeg Vikings head coach Bud Grant and quarterback Warren Moon, who started his illustrious CFL career with Edmonton. Moon played most of his NFL career with the Houston Oilers and also played with Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City.
“It stunned me, it surprised me after all these years,” Levy told The Canadian Press from Chicago in a phone interview. “I know how few people there are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
“I know Bud Grant was an opponent, but he was also a man that I always looked up to and loved a lot. And Warren Moon was a terrific player, both in Canada and in the NFL. It’s very , very comforting. I am delighted and a little surprised.”
Levy was named a builder in the 2021 class. However, the Canadian Hall of Fame did not hold induction ceremonies in either 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so both respective classes will be honored together Friday evening in Hamilton, Ontario.
Levy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He returned to Buffalo as general manager (2006-07) and remains the winningest coach in Bills history.
Levy, 96, will not be able to make the trip to Hamilton but still fondly remembers his first stint as head coach in professional football 50 years ago.
He left his position as special teams coach with Washington after the team’s 14-7 Super Bowl loss to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in 1972 to become the head coach of Montreal.
“It was such a memorable moment for me,” he said. “My coaching career spanned 47 years, but those (with Montreal) remain so important in my mind.”
Levy was 43-31-4 in the CFL and was its best coach in 1974. That was the same year he won his first Gray Cup title, a 20-7 win over Edmonton.