RIP: Buddy Ryan, Eagles Coach Who Never Let The Fact That He Didn’t Have Having Anything Nice To Say Stop Him From Saying It, Is Dead At 85



NEW YORK TIMES: Buddy Ryan, pro football’s famously combative defensive innovator who helped propel the Jets and the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl championships, died on Tuesday in Kentucky. Although listed as 82 in some accounts, he was 85 at his death, according to his son Rex in a memoir. In his seven years as a head coach, with the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, Ryan never won a playoff game. But he had already solidified his legacy as an assistant coach with his shifting and blitzing defensive alignments, which confused and clobbered opposing quarterbacks. His bruising “46” defense, in particular, took the Bears to their 1986 Super Bowl victory. For all his football intellect, Ryan embraced pure aggression.

“It got mean, cruel,” defensive end Gerry Philbin, who played under Ryan at the University at Buffalo and on the Jets, once told Sports Illustrated. “I’ve never seen anyone better at bringing the animal out of you. If you didn’t hit as hard as he wanted, he’d humiliate you in front of everyone. Guys like me loved him, though. He was just so brutally honest.” When Ryan became the Eagles’ head coach in 1986 and subjected his players to punishing drills in training camp, he spoke of his mind-set. “They probably think I’m a no-good so-and-so,” he told The New York Times. “But that’s all right. That breeds closeness as a team. That way they can all dislike the same guy.” MORE