RIP, Big Guy

No sooner than the world learns Pat Summitt had passed, we also hear that Buddy Ryan has passed on as well.

The former NFL head coach has died at the age of 82.

You don’t have to search hard to find his legacy. It’s the two dudes wearing blue in Buffalo. Rex and Rob grew up under their Dad and learned his craft in the 80s. And if you’re too young to remember Buddy, just take a look at Rex. It’s a carbon copy.

A quote machine, a sideline celebrity, a guy who believed that winning was about hitting, and a coach who won a Super Bowl with an all-time defense but couldn’t’ quite get over the hump as the head man.

The slide show of Buddy Ryan’s career has two pictures: Getting carried off the field by the ’85 Bears. And throwing a punch at fellow coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline.

That’s Ryan in a nutshell. Defensive innovator – and a wild man who would drop a haymaker on a co-worker… You had to be a little nuts to invent his 46 defense. Buddy Ryan’s Frankenstein monster was about stacking the line, blowing up everything and everyone – and doing it before you get beat deep. And it worked.

There are to this day a lot of people in Chicago who will tell you that the ’85 Bears were Buddy’s team. And that it was Ditka was along for the ride. And I’m not talking about today’s hot-takers; I’m talking about guys who played on that team.

Years before he swung on Gilbride, he tried to fight Ditka during halftime. Buddy Ryan was a bigger, bolder Rex Ryan. This was a guy who once allegedly put a bounty on a KICKER. A guy who got Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson so angry that he said on national TV he wanted to confront Buddy but “he wouldn’t stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end into the dressing room.”

Buddy Ryan was the godfather of the attacking defense, and a master of pissing people off. Reporters loved quoting him. And in all my time of doing this, and talking to NFL’ers, I don’t know that I have ever seen a coach the players loved more than Buddy Ryan. And would do absolutely anything for him.

I mean, players straight up loved the man. Put a phone in his hand and Twitter would have worshipped him.

And here’s hoping Buddy’s drawing up some insane backside blitzes and punching angels in that big stadium in the sky. Rest in peace, big guy.

An all-time coach, and all time character.




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