Inside The Bills

Levy on what makes a winning coach

Posted by Chris Brown on January 30, 2015 – 12:55 pm

Bills Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy was enormously successful in his second go round as a head coach in the NFL in Buffalo. He’s a big part of our story today on as we look at the trend of Super Bowl success for second-time head coaches and how it may apply to Bills new head coach Rex Ryan. In the conversation with Levy by phone he laid out three of the most important qualities in a successful head coach.

“Every good coach to me has these three qualities,” said Levy. “He’s a good teacher, and he can inject his own personality, but he gets his teaching across to the players and they buy in and see the value of his teaching. Two and this is overwhelmingly important, he works well with others in the organization. Yeah you can disagree, but don’t be disagreeable. Whether it’s who you ought to draft or stuff of that nature. Third he’s a straight shooter.”

Ryan explained some of the experience he gained in working with young quarterbacks in New York that he believes will help him with EJ Manuel in Buffalo in his sitdown interview with He talked about how they don’t intend to give Manuel 600 plays to memorize. Levy saw that as a smart move on Ryan’s part.

“One of the greatest things that helped us in our success, and if I had any advice for any other coach I’d say throw away half your playbook,” said Levy. “Our no huddle offense, we had a playbook about 20 percent the size of all of those in the league, so that’s an astute remark on Rex’s part I would think.”

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