Buddy Ryan, the legendary NFL coach, has passed away. Ryan made his largest impact on the NFL as the defensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl winning Chicago Bears, a defense oft-considered the best in league history. He was 82 years old.
Ryan started his coaching career with the University of Buffalo, serving as the defensive line coach from 1961 to 1965. He moved to the AFL, and eventually the NFL, in 1966 as the defensive line coach for the New York Jets, winning Super Bowl III with the team. He then took the same position with the Minnesota Vikings in 1976, and making two Super Bowl appearances with Minnesota, before being hired by the Bears in 1978.
After the Super Bowl championship, Ryan was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles as the team’s head coach, holding the position from 1986 to 1990. He moved to the studio in 1991, working for CNN, before returning to coaching in 1993 as the defensive coordinator of the Houston Oilers. A year later, he was hired as the Arizona Cardinals’ head coach, spending two years with the team.
He retired after the 1995 season.
Ryan was never able to equal his success as a defensive coordinator in his time as a head coach, but he will forever be considered an NFL legendary coach. His use of the 46 defense has made it essentially a Ryan staple, and one that his twin sons use with the Buffalo Bills, where Rex is the head coach and Rob is the assistant head coach and defensive assistant.
Our condolences to the entire Ryan family.