Tha Sports Junkies 101

Remembering Ryan: Defensive Guru

Mark Krajnak via Flickr


Former NFL head coach Buddy Ryan has passed away at the age of 82. He was known as a passionate man who loved the game of football.

He earned his stripes while running the defense for the Chicago Bears. He started out his NFL coaching career while coaching the defensive line (Minnesota Vikings). They took on the moniker “Purple People Eaters“.

Ryan honed his “46” defense during this time and used this front to thwart opposing offenses.

The 1985 Bears defense will go down as one of the best to ever play the game of football. They ranked 1st in the league in points allowed, yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, rushing touchdowns, interceptions, and takeaways.

The 46 defense consists of six players along the the of scrimmage (4 on the line, 2 at linebacker depth.) Essentially, it keeps 8 players in the box with 3 defensive backs in the secondary.

His defensive creation is revolutionary and is still used in today’s game.

Buddy’s bravado and infectious attitude really made him stand out amongst the greats. 

He later would leave Chicago to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He had under his wing the likes of NFL greats Reggie White, Richard Dent, Jerome Brown, Ron Rivera, and Eric Allen.

Ryan was the mastermind behind the generation’s best defensive units (1985 Bears and 1991 Eagles).

Buddy later became head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. He coached for 35 years in the NFL.

Buddy’s coaching tree extends to Jeff Fisher (LA Rams), Ron Rivera  (Carolina Panthers), Leslie Frazier (Baltimore Ravens), Mike Singletary (Baylor University football candidate), Brian Cabral (University of Colorado), Steve McMichael (Chicago Slaughter of the IFL), and sons Rex and Rob Ryan (Buffalo Bills).

He was known for his no-nonsense, rip the other guy’s head off attitude on the field. Buddy is also known for his kind-hearted spirit off the field. He will be dearly missed.

Here is a message that Buddy put in all of his defense’s playbooks.

Buddy Ryan