Buffalo Bills coaches Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan lost their father, Buddy, today. The longtime NFL coach began his career at the University of Buffalo in the 1960s and his sons call the city home now. Condolences to the entire Ryan family.
Buddy Ryan made his way as a defensive line coach with the Jets and Vikings before being named defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears. The defense powered the Bears to a Super Bowl championship in 1985 and Ryan was named head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He also spent time with the Houston Oilers and Arizona Cardinals before retiring. He amassed a 55-55-1 record as an NFL head coach.
Ryan’s legacy remains that of a defensive genius. He perfected the 46 defense to put more pressure on passing attacks but sending extra men and clogging running lanes, something his sons have taken to a new level in the decades following. He used the tactics to forge not only the epic ‘85 bears but also a stellar 1991 Eagles defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards, passing yards, and overall yards for the season in the NFL. His innovative Jets defensive line harassed the Colts in New York’s Super Bowl III victory. His sons Rex and Rob have picked up that mantle.
Ryan was 82 years old.