Marv Levy is poised to join a very select pro football group.
On Friday night, the former Buffalo Bills and Montreal Alouettes head coach will be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
He’ll become just the third person to be in both the Canadian and Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining former Minnesota Vikings and Winnipeg head coach Bud Grant and quarterback Warren Moon, who began his illustrious career in the CFL 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 of these years,” Levy told The Canadian Press from Chicago during a telephone interview. “I know how few people there are in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
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“I know Bud Grant was an opponent, but he was also a man I’ve always admired and like very much. And Warren Moon was such a terrific player, both in Canada and the NFL. It’s very, very heartwarming. I’m thrilled and a little bit amazed.”
Levy was named a builder in the 2021 class. However, the Canadian Hall of Fame didn’t hold induction ceremonies in either 2020 or ’21 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so the two respective classes will be honored together Friday night in Hamilton, Ont.
Levy was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. He returned to Buffalo as GM (2006-07) and remains the winningest coach in Bills history.
Levy, 96, will be unable to make the trip to Hamilton, but still recollects fondly his first head coaching stint in pro football 50 years ago.
He left his job as a special teams coach with Washington following the team’s 14-7 Super Bowl loss to the unbeaten Miami Dolphins in 1972 to become Montreal’s head coach.
“It was such a memorable time for me,” he said. “My coaching career spanned 47 years but those (with Montreal) remain so prominent in my mind.”
Levy had a 43-31-4 CFL record and was its top coach in ’74. That’s the same year he captured his first Grey Cup title, a 20-7 win over Edmonton.