passing of Buddy Ryan.
Most people remember Buddy Ryan as the defensive coordinator and innovator behind so many great defenses such as the Vikings Purple People Eater,the Eagles Gang Green,the Jets team that stunned the football world in Super Bowl Three and of course the legendary 85 Bears,but Buddy was a pretty good head coach too with a deceiving overall record.
55-55-1 doesn't look that great,until you consider that his final year (4-12) is what took him to the .500 level and his 1st year in Arizona (8-8) was the best record that the Cardinals had notched in the previous ten years.
The Bears "46" defense was dominant,but I rooted for the Eagles because of Buddy Ryan.
I just loved the guy from his hard hitting teams with attitude and that he just didn't take crap from anyone.
I never rooted for the Eagles before Buddy,but I was a diehard fan from the day that he took the job and I remained an Eagles fan until down the road with with Andy Reid,different uniforms and colors etc.
How many coaches have games named after them "The Bounty Bowl", "The Miracle in the Meadowlands II" and most notably "The Body Bag game" in which the Eagles knocked out each quarterback against Washington with the Redskins finishing the game with running back Brian Mitchell taking snaps on Monday Night Football.
Buddy even made headlines when he was not the head man with his battles in Chicago with Mike Ditka and his famous punch at Kevin Gilbride in Houston that was again on national television.
Being an Eagles fan was so much fun with Buddy Ryan around,but they could be very frustrating for a fan.
Buddy wasn't just 0-3 in the playoffs,but the Eagles under him typically would look tremendous against top level teams and then lay an egg the very next week against a foe that they should roll over.
Buddy also had a tendency to almost ignore the offenses on his teams and rely on Randall Cunningham to as Buddy said famously "Randall will make five plays on offense and we'll win".
That sounds simple.but it's tough to develop consistency that way and often times in big games,it would come back to bite Buddy's teams.
Buddy Ryan was a coach that most guys loved to play for as the stories are plentiful from Buddy's goodbye to his Bears on the night before the Super Bowl to the loyalty shown to players during the 1987 strike and his siding with players in contract disputes with management.
Some of this came back to haunt him when Buddy often called his owner,Norman Braman "the guy in France" during a contract issue with I think Keith Jackson.
This didn't always help Buddy's standing with the front office!
Buddy's legacy is about more than being popular with the players and fans,he also is the father of current Bills head coach Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan,who has been the defensive coordinator with several teams.
Much of the attacking philosophy of the Buddy Ryan defense has been used by both of his sons throughout the years and why I always pulled for first the Jets under Rex Ryan and now the Bills with Rex coaching there.
Buddy is remembered by most for those tremendous 85 Chicago Bears,but I'll always remember him as the coach with the quick quip with lines that I've used to this day and for being one of the people that made sports so much fun to follow.....