NFL Loses a Legend, Buddy Ryan Dies at 82
The sports world has lost another great one and the NFL says goodbye to one of the best defensive minds that has ever lived. Legendary defensive guru Buddy Ryan has passed at the age of 82.
Ryan is arguably more recently known as the father to NFL coaches Rex and Rob Ryan, but he paved the way for his sons by carving out one of the best NFL careers in history.
There’s no mistake as to how Ryan is best known, as he crafted the magical “46” Chicago Bears defense that won it all back in 1985. Chicago boasted arguably the greatest defense of all-time during that year, culminating a 15-1 season with an emphatic 46-10 beatdown of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Former NFL head coach and DC Buddy Ryan died Tuesday. He was 82
His ’85 Bears defense was one of the best all time: pic.twitter.com/UNO1TsynCD
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 28, 2016
Ryan’s days with the Bear are undoubtedly his best and where he made his name, but he still went on to have success as a head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, where he famously stated the team “has a winner in town” upon his arrival.
Ryan wasn’t wrong, either. He built up revolutionary talents like Randall Cunningham and Reggie White and transformed the Eagles into yearly winners. Philadelphia didn’t win more than seven games in either of his first two seasons on the job, but won 10+ in his final three seasons.
Ryan kept coaching from there, as he operated as a defensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers and the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Ryan capped his career with his final head coaching gig in Arizona, retiring for good in 1995.
In all, Ryan spent 26 impressive seasons coaching football at the highest level and certainly left his mark, with past players coming forward and revealing their thoughts upon his passing.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who played under Ryan with the Bears, suggested football lost another great NFL mind:
— Ron Rivera (@RiverboatRonHC) June 28, 2016
Former Bears head coach Mike Ditka chimed in on ESPN, saying that Ryan was a massive piece to his Super Bowl-winning Chicago team.
“Buddy was such an integral part of the @ChicagoBears.”
— NFL (@NFL) June 28, 2016
Everyone knew that already, however, as Ryan’s unit has long been seen as the best ever, and following the Super Bowl win, the team carried both Ryan and Ditka off the field. Throughout Super Bowl history, Buddy Ryan remains the only coordinator to be carried off the field by his team following a win.
In addition to leaving behind a sport Ryan loved and spent so much time with, he also leaves behind his sons and the rest of his family.
Rex Ryan had suggested earlier in the year that, after bringing his brother Rob Ryan on as defensive coordinator, the two brothers had teamed up to go “all in” to win a Super Bowl before their ailing father died.
Buddy Ryan had been battling cancer for years and had deteriorating health, but was at least able to go out with his sons teaming up, trying to put their own defensive spin on pro football.
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