The National Football League and its players lost a legend on Tuesday. The agent for former Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan confirmed that the great defensive mind passed away at the age of 82.
Sad day continues: Former NFL head coach and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan died Tuesday, according to his agent James Solano. He was 82.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 28, 2016
The long-time defensive coordinator is not only mourned within the larger NFL community, but in Western New York where his twin sons, Rex and Rob, coach with the Buffalo Bills.
Ryan is best known for leading the Chicago Bears defense to a dominating performance during the team’s run to the Super Bowl title back in 1985.
This led to Ryan receiving his first head coaching job in the NFL with the Eagles after being an assistant in the league for over two decades.
While Ryan’s success as a head man (55-55-1 record) was limited, his ability to bring modern defensive football to the game can be seen as one of most revolutionary aspects of what was a stellar career. Ryan implemented and perfected the now famous 46 defense with the aforementioned Bears team.
Obviously not doing well later in his life, Ryan visited with multiple former members of the Bears defense, Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary included, in a recent ESPN 30 for 30 focusing on the team’s 1985 season.
As you can tell, Ryan was much more than a coach to these men. In many ways, he acted as a father figure.
Ryan, 82, was diagnosed with cancer back in 2011. This came decades after he had defeated the dreaded disease two separate times.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Ryan family and the NFL during this most difficult of times.