Buddy Ryan, one of the greatest defensive minds in NFL history and a former head coach, passed away at the age of 82 on Tuesday.
Ryan, the creator of the infamous blitz-heavy 46 defense, famously led the 1985 Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl XX title as its defensive coordinator.
His coaching career spanned 35 years and included several notable stops. When the Baltimore Colts shockingly dropped Super Bowl III to the New York Jets, it was Ryan who as New York’s defensive line coach.
His run as Bears defensive coordinator began in 1978, where he helped turn Chicago into a contender again. Of course, the 1985 Bears formed one of the NFL’s greatest single-season defenses of all-time.
Following his stop in Chicago, Ryan became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1986.
While head coach for five seasons, Ryan returned the Eagles to prominence in leading the team to the postseason three straight seasons from 1988-90. Once again, defense was a calling card for another Ryan stop. Hall of Famer Reggie White anchored one of the most ferocious defensive lines in NFL history.
Ryan was fired by the Eagles following the 1990 season and a home playoff loss to the Washington Redskins – the third consecutive year his team lost in their first playoff game.
Following a brief and controversial pitstop in Houston during the 1993 season, Ryan landed another head coaching gig with the Arizona Cardinals. He compiled a 12-20 record in two seasons with the Cardinals.
Ryan is survived by his sons Jim, Rob, and Rex. Last year, Rex Ryan became head coach of the Buffalo Bills. During this off-season, Rex has joined him as a defensive coach.