Former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, one of the most bombastic to ever hold the position, has died at the age of 85.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the city of Philadelphia have lost an icon.
Buddy Ryan, who coached the Eagles from 1986 until 1990, passed away Tuesday at the age of 82.
Ryan came to the Eagles after helping to take the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl as their defensive coordinator in 1985. The Bears demolished the New England Patriots 46-10 and to this day Ryan is the only defensive coordinator carried off the field on the shoulders of his players.
While in Philly, Ryan went 43-35-1 and took the NFC East title in 1988 but never won a playoff game, going 0-3. It was the failure to win in the postseason that led to him being fired by Eagles owner Norman Braman in 1991.
Despite never winning the the postseason, Ryan’s legacy in Philadelphia has never been in question. He took a team that was a shadow of their former selves and made them into a defensive powerhouse that sold out every home game.
Any Birds fan will tell you that the history of Eagles football can be divided into two time periods: before Buddy Ryan and after Buddy Ryan.
That is because Ryan is the one who made Philadelphia a football town. Thanks to his intense, take no prisoners approach to coaching, he took a city that enjoyed the game and transformed it into the rabid fanbase that is known around the country today.
Running up the score against the Dallas Cowboys in 1987, “Bounty Bowl” against those same Cowboys in 1989 and of course the Body Bag game against the Washington Redskins in 1990. All of those things might have been frowned upon in other cities, but it did nothing but enhance his image and make Ryan a hero in South Philadelphia.
Seven member of the Eagles were named as All-Pro selections thanks to Buddy Ryan, including such Eagles legends as Jerome Brown, Randall Cunningham, Mike Quick and Reggie White.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released the following statement about the death of Buddy Ryan:
“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. Over the last 20-plus years, I had the pleasure of discussing football with Buddy and I always came away from those conversations intrigued by his knowledge and passion for the game. On behalf of myself and the entire Eagles family, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to the Ryan family.”
The Philadelphia Eagles and their fans became what they are today thanks to Buddy Ryan and the brash attitude and killer instinct he brought to this city. Anyone who doesn’t understand that doesn’t understand what it means to be an Eagles fan.
Rest in peace Buddy. Philadelphia thanks you.