2016 has been a rough one because we’ve lost so many legendary stars and athletes. Muhammad Ali passed away after a 32 year battle with Parkinson’s disease, the world of sports lost basketball hall of famer Pat Summitt this morning and shortly after her passing, our game lost a legend of its own, Mr. Buddy Ryan has passed after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 82 years old.
Buddy Ryan is the greatest defensive coordinator ever and he’s the architect of arguably the greatest defense ever, the 46 defense which propelled the Chicago Bears to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. The 46 defense is a defensive formation of eight men in the box with six men playing along the line of scrimmage (four playing line technique and two in a linebacker technique) along with three defensive backs. The 46 defense was designed to confuse and put pressure on the opposing offense, especially the quarterback. Despite being known as the architect of the 46, He was an innovator and his blitz-crazed mentality as a defensive line coach for the New York Jets led them to their only Super Bowl victory in 1969 and he was one of the creative forces behind the Minnesota Vikings “Purple People Eaters” defenses in the 1970’s. After that magical 85 season, Ryan became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Buddy Ryan had a few head coaching stints, but he will forever be known as a defensive genius and will always be credited with helping the Bears win that Super Bowl in 1985. Mike Singletary stated this morning that he wouldn’t have become the football player that he did if it weren’t for Buddy Ryan. My thoughts are with his sons Rex and Rob, the family and those who were fortunate enough to play for him.