The Sports Bash Remembers Buddy Ryan
Former Eagles Head Coach Buddy Ryan passed away on Tuesday and his legacy stretches beyond just wins and losses. Ryan was a defensive innovator who formulated the 46 Defense during his time as Defensive Coordinator with the Bears during the 1980's. Before his tenure in Chicago he was the Defensive Line Coach for the New York Jets who won Super Bowl 3 and later was the Defensive Line Coach in Minnesota with the Vikings' famous "Purple People Eaters" defense. During his 18 years coaching the Vikings, Bears, Eagles, Oilers, and Cardinals there were only two seasons in which he was not coaching a top 15 defense in the NFL.
Mark Eckel of NJ.com has been covering the Eagles since 1985 and gave his first hand perspective of the impact of Buddy Ryan on the Eagles: "The Eagles had become an after thought (in Philadelphia)...they were number four in the city....Buddy came in and was perfect for the city of Philadelphia, his brashness, his hatred for the Cowboys was just like theirs, it was a good combination"
Former Eagles Wide Receiver Fred Barnett was drafted and played his rookie season under Buddy Ryan. Barnett spoke about how good Ryan's defense was in Philadelphia: "If we were a tad bit better on offense, with Buddy Ryan defense and system we should've won a Super Bowl"
ESPN NFL Nation Eagles Insider Phil Sheridan has been covering the Philadelphia Eagles since 1985 and told The Sports Bash about the type of person Buddy Ryan was: "He was a larger than life kind of character and what kind of made him cool in a way...is that even though he was a larger than life character and a very distinguished coach he loved being around great players and love to let them do what they wanted to do. He loved being part of the circus, he liked being the ringleader in the circus but he liked the circus itself he liked having the players do their own thing."