On January 27, 1991, while flying back home from a gut-wrenching 20-19 loss to the New York Giants in their first Super Bowl appearance, head coach Marv Levy consoled the heartbroken Buffalo Bills by reciting a few verses of poetry. 

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Getty Images

The poem was from a book that his mother gifted him in the summer of 1943. The United States had just entered World War II, and Levy, then a recent high school graduate, had enlisted in the Army and was on his way to basic training when he finally cracked it open.

It was a compilation called “The Oxford Book of Ballads,” and hidden inside, Levy found the prose that, as he would later say, “…came to define what the Buffalo Bills were all about.”

Over 80 years have gone by since Coach discovered that poem on a bus to boot camp, and just barely shy of 33 years since he recited it to his shell-shocked squad on their way back from Super Bowl XXV. 

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This Is The Poem Marv Levy Read To The Buffalo Bills

Today, as we grieve another Buffalo Bills season gone after another loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, is a good time to revisit Marv Levy’s speech - and let the words sink in. 

From “Sir Andrew Barton” by the Irish poet Thomas Moore; 

‘Fight on my men, ’ says Sir Andrew Barton,

I am hurt, but I am not slain;

I'll lay me down and bleed a-while,

And then I'll rise and fight again.

Go Bills. Don’t give up. We’ll see you in the fall, ready to fight once more. 

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