According to ESPN and multiple sources, former National Football League head coach and defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan has passed away at the age of 82.
In 1989, Jimmy Johnson, the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys at the time, accused Ryan of placing a "bounty" on two of his players, QB Troy Aikman and kicker Luis Zendejas, during a Thanksgiving Day matchup.
In the 1985 playoffs, the Bears defense shutout both the L.A. Rams and the New York Giants en route to a 46-10 drubbing of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. He was 82 years old.
Chicago Bears Defensive coach Buddy Ryan gives a thumbs-up as President Barack Obama honors the Super Bowl-winning 1985 Chicago Bears NFL team at the White House in Washington, DC, on October 7, 2011.
As for those contentious moments between Ryan and Ditka, well, the former Bears' head coach spoke about those, too. He spent five seasons leading the Eagles, from 1986 to 1990, and held a 42-38-1 record while in Philadelphia.
Ryan was sacked by the Eagles weeks later and remained out of coaching until 1993, when Kelly and Ryan, then the Houston Oilers' defensive coordinator, squared off for the final time. When he was with the Houston Oilers he took a swing at fellow assistant coach, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, on the sidelines during a game because he was irked by Gilbride's "chuck and duck" offense. He then became head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, where he posted a 12-20 record in two seasons. The twin brothers are now coaching in Buffalo together, with Rex as the head coach and Rob coaching the defense.
A "Buddy Ryan son" search brings up a lot of information about Ryan's three boys, particularly fraternal twins Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan. Such was the devotion players felt for Ryan, who guided the Eagles to the playoffs in 1988, "89 and '90". "But hopefully, he can see this one, because we have got big plans". Truthfully, if it wasn't Ryan's team to run, he wasn't going to be happy. Hampton asks now. "That showed you how much he loved his players". Ryan also is survived by another son, Jim, the Eagles said.
Ryan's passion for the game often made him a divisive figure.
As Chicago legend Mike Ditka told USA Today: "No way we win anything without his defense". That was how fiercely his players loved him, which is a level of caring and respect we may never again see between today's players and coaches.