The sports world mourns after losing two legends today. In addition to basketball legend Pat Summit, former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan passed away this morning at his Kentucky ranch. The cause has yet to be released, he was 85.
James “Buddy” Ryan was the ultimate defensive guru, coaching in the NFL for 26 seasons with his signature in your face, bully type style. Buddy was an innovator as he created modern day blitz schemes we still see today. Like his sons Rex and Rob, Buddy wasn’t scared to speak his mind and was full of colorful quotes. You could see where his sons get their brash bravado from.
The Korean war veteran’s first NFL gig was as the linebackers coach for the New York Jets in 1968 when Joe Namath shocked the world as we defeated the Colts 16-7 for our only Super Bowl win. A game that Jets fans will always remember.
After moving on to the Minnesota Viking, coaching the “Purple People Eaters,” he gained his notoriety concocting the 46 Defense for the Chicago Bears. The 46 defense was founded on sending more blitzing players than an offense could block. And in 1984, the Bears tallied 72 sacks, a record that is standing to this day. The ’85 Bears capped their Super Bowl title with seven sacks. He was carried off the field by his defense side by side with head coach Mike Ditka.
— Ron Rivera (@RiverboatRonHC) June 28, 2016
Panthers head coach and former Bear on the ’85 defense, Ron Rivera had kind words for Buddy.
He later went on to be the head coach of the Eagles and Cardinals. Buddy had a record of 55-55-1 in the regular season and 0-3 in the playoffs, all with the Eagles.
I’ve always heard about the influences Buddy has had on today’s defenses. It was great to see him around the team when his son Rex was the coach of the Jets from 2009-2014. I got to see the qualities of Buddy through Rex as a coach. A players favorite that would have guys run through a wall for him. A defensive mastermind with an aggressive blitzing mindset that was relentless. Someone that isn’t scared to speak his mind, and is going to come out and hit you in the mouth. He is going to be missed.
You would see the Rex led Jets hop into the signature 46 defense occasionally throughout the season, for example against the Texans below.
As Rex Ryan enters his second season as head coach for the Bills, he hired his twin brother Rob as assistant to help run the defense. They both go into it with their backs against the wall, looking to honor their late father.
Buddy Ryan’s impact will never be forgotten, his spirit lives on through his coaching sons. Thank you for allowing my defense to thrive in Madden with the 46 playbook.