Buddy Ryan was the head coach of the Eagles from 1986 to 1990. He led the Birds to three straight playoff appearances including the 1988 NFC East title. However, it was his time as a defensive coach that Ryan made his biggest impact in the NFL.
Ryan developed the Bears’ “46” defense that was instrumental in leading Chicago to the 1985 Super Bowl title.
Ryan was a linebackers coach for the 1968 champion New York Jets. In addition to his time with the Eagles, Ryan was the Cardinals head coach for two seasons (1994-1995), compiling a 55-55-1 overall record.
“Buddy Ryan was arguably one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and forever left his mark on the Eagles organization and the city of Philadelphia,” Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said.
Ryan’s first job as a defensive coordinator came in 1976 with the Vikings under Bud Grant, like Ewbank a Hall of Fame coach. He spent two years there, with the 1976 team losing to Oakland in the Super Bowl. He then moved to the rival Bears, where he concocted the 46 defense that overwhelmed the league with its aggressiveness and unpredictability.
Ryan’s defenders, featuring such Hall of Famers as linebacker Mike Singletary and ends Dan Hampton and Richard Dent, came from all angles and were nearly impossible to budge on the ground. Not that teams had more success in the air, either.
(The Associated Press contributed to this post)