Buddy Ryan, NFL Defensive Mastermind, Dies at 82

The father of Rex and Buddy Ryan coached the defense of two different Super Bowl champions

Last Updated: June 28, 2016 @ 9:47 AM

Legendary NFL defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan died Tuesday in Kentucky at age 82.

Ryan coached two defenses that won Super Bowl titles, and is considered one of the greatest defensive minds in football history. The outspoken and colorful coach’s twin sons, Rex and Rob, have also been successful NFL coaches.

A cause of death was not immediately released, but Ryan was battling cancer for several years.

Ryan was a linebackers coach for the 1968 New York Jets and coordinated the innovative 46 defense for the 1985 Chicago Bears, widely considered one of the NFL’s greatest defenses of all time. He was a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-90 and for the Arizona Cardinals in 1994-95.

Ryan was known to be a colorful character on and off the field. When his Bears won Super Bowl XX, players famously carried both Ryan and head coach Mike Ditka off the field. When serving as the Houston Oilers defensive coordinator in 1993, he punched offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sideline when he was upset with play calling.

His son, Rex, is currently the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.