Former NFL coach Marv Levy gives an interview at a diner on W. Diversey Pkwy Friday, July 22, 2011, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times
Updated: November 20, 2011 2:21AM
Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy insists his latest project is a work of “complete fiction.” The man who took the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls — and lost four consecutive times — has written a novel called Between the Lies, in which, among other things, the Super Bowl is rigged.
“I never have suspected or sensed a whiff of cheating in any of our Super Bowls,’’ Levy, a native Chicagoan who attended South Shore High School, told the Sun-Times last month. “It’s not about refs rigging the game. It’s about, well, what if teams have secret wires in opponents’ locker rooms? What if they listened in to other teams’ signals? What if they did illicit filming?’’
Levy’s novel is full of rich characters with amusing names, such as filthy-rich team owner Cedric B. Medill, equipment manager ‘‘Malaprop Joe’’ Skoronski and quarterback Q.T. ‘‘Cutie’’ Pye. There is also an opposing quarterback named Kelly James.
‘‘Yep, there’s a little of Jim Kelly in there,’’ Levy said. ‘‘But it’s, remember, fiction.’’
This week, the Sun-Times will run excerpts of the book, beginning with Chapter 8 today.
Both the Los Angeles Leopards and the Portland Pioneers were primed and ready to go when the regular season kicked off in September. It was after the games began to count in the standings that things got rough. The Leopards lost their first four games, before pulling off a startling 27-24 upset of the New England Patriots. Then they lost their next three games. At midseason, their record stood at 1-7. The Pioneers fared little better, logging a 2-6 mark by the season’s midway point.
It was about what might have been expected from expansion teams in their first year of competition, but it was far short of the expectations that team owner Cedric B. Medill had for his Leopards.
“Does this guy Russell really know what he is doing?” Cedric B. asked General Manager Brant Gilbert during their Monday telephone conversation on the day after their seventh loss of the season. “How can they blow a 10-point lead like they did yesterday? That’s what I’d like to know.”
“Cedric, our defense has a long way to go yet,” Brant responded. “You know how heavily we went for offense in the draft. That was what you really urged us to do, remember?”
“Yes, I do, and I’m glad I did. That’s how we got that lead. That’s why Q.T. had those two touchdown passes that put us in front until that damn conservative prevent defense that Russell kept calling screwed it up.”
“Q.T. also threw three interceptions in the game, Cedric, including the one that set up their last touchdown drive.”
“Who sent that play in? And why would he be throwing to a receiver that was being covered by Montavius Boswell? I keep hearing that he’s the best defensive back in the NFL.”
“It was a rookie mistake, Cedric. Besides, Q.T. was under lots of pressure. Our pass protection isn’t what it needs to be yet. He didn’t have much time, and so he just unloaded the ball.”
“Well, then why are we throwing the ball in a situation like that?”
“It was still early in the fourth quarter,” Brant explained. “It was a third-down and eight-yards-to-go situation. We needed to get a first down. We needed to maintain control of the ball, and, at that point in the game, it would have been very meaningful for us to put some more points on the board. Also, I recall a couple of weeks ago when we lost a late lead to the Seahawks you were disturbed because you felt we had become too conservative by trying to grind it out on the ground.”
“Well, it seems to me that Russell just doesn’t come up with the right strategy at the right time,” Cedric B. said. “I know from a talk I had with Randy Dolbermeier that he, too, would like to see us be a lot more innovative on offense, but Russell won’t go along with it.”
“All I can say, Cedric, is that Bobby is keeping the players on track and working hard despite all the difficulties they’ve had to deal with. We are getting better, and we’ll continue to get better if we just allow him to stay the course.”
“Well, I have faith in you, Brant, and I do like Bobby, too. I don’t always agree with everything that’s taking place, and I’m not going to hesitate to speak up and let you know how I feel. But you guys are in charge. I do wish, however, that Russell would listen more to what Dolbermeier has to offer.”
“From what I’ve observed, Randy keeps offering plenty.”
“Yeah, he’s a character. That’s obvious! But I also notice a lot of the media guys laughing at his antics. They really seem to like interviewing him, too.”
“And he enjoys all the attention. Maybe a little bit too much.”
“All I know is that I think he is one heckuva coach. I just wish sometimes that our players would get as fired up as I’ve seen him be when he’s out on that practice field.”
Between the Lies will be in bookstores nationally in mid-September and is currently available at www.amazon.com or