Buddy Ryan, a longtime coach who built perhaps the greatest defense in NFL history with the 1985 Bears, has died at the age of 82.
Loved by his players but hated by opposing offenses, Ryan was at the head of possibly the greatest defense and schemes in NFL history with Chicago’s 46 defense that won Super Bowl XX. He later went on to become Head Coach of the Philadelphia Eagles team for 5 season while mentoring and molding great players like Reggie White, Jerome Brown and Randall Cunningham.
His coaching record will not be mentioned with legends but his influence on the game itself will stand the test of time. He was a fiery man who put 110% percent in what he believed and his players respected him for that. His fiery persona got the best of him in 1993, his only year as defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers when upset with the Oilers’ offensive play calling, Ryan punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride in a nationally televised sideline skirmish.
Ryan was one of a kind, the best at what he did, despite his drawbacks he earned the respect of NFL players and coaches. As a kid growing up in Philadelphia this news hits home hard. I grew up watching the Eagles and that tight bunch, they came short of a championship but Ryan gave them a chance every season.
It’s a sad day in the NFL. Ryan was one of a kind for sure.
Ryan is survived by his twin sons, Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and Bills assistant coach Rob Ryan.