Chicago Bears

The JMRA Hall of Fame – Nominee #4: Buddy Ryan

We’ve reached nominee four in our set of 20 that are eligible for the JMRA Hall of Fame. The five biggest vote getters will be inducted into the Hall along with the Editor’s Choice award winner. The JMRA Hall of Fame honors contributors to the National Football League; and/or an individual/group who enlightened society (most notably the website) through football or other means.

Before there was Rex Ryan and his band of brash Jets , there was James David “Buddy” Ryan.

As is the case with history, the further we get detached from a figure’s reign, the more likely his/her overall impact will diminish due to society’s constant desire to create the next big thing.

Ryan is a classic case of this theory. For example, consider the following accomplishments for the former Philadelphia Eagles/Arizona Cardinals head coach:

  • Ryan served as the linebackers coach for the ’68 Jets, who upset the Colts in Super Bowl III.
  • Architect of the famed “46” defense.
  • His crowning achievement came as the defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champion 1985 Bears, widely considered one of the five greatest teams in NFL history.
  • Although a suspect head coach, he helped build the tremendous Philadelphia Eagles defense that ran roughshod over the NFL from 1988 to 1992 (Ryan was fired following the ’90 season).

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg with the man who famously slugged Oilers offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, while Ryan was the defensive coordinator of the same team.

While far from a legendary head coach, does he have the stuff to make it to the JMRA Hall of Fame?

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