Buddy Ryan’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Buddy Ryan passed away at the age of 82. (Getty)

Buddy Ryan passed away at the age of 82. (Getty)

Former NFL coach Buddy Ryan passed away at the age of 82. Buddy leaves behind two sons, Rex and Rob, who are both NFL coaches.

Buddy was famous for his no nonsense approach to football. He served as the head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals over his career. He was also the defensive coordinator for the infamous 1985 Chicago Bears who had one of the greatest defenses in NFL history.

Here’s what you need to know about the Ryan family.


1. Buddy Leaves Behind Two Twin Sons Who Are NFL Coaches

After spending decades in the NFL, Buddy’s children followed in his footsteps. Rex is the head coach for the Buffalo Bills while he previously coached the New York Jets.

Rob works with his brothers as the assistant head coach for the Bills. He previously worked as the defensive coordinator for both the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys. In the 1990’s, Rex worked with his father on the Cardinals coaching staff.


2. Buddy Passed Away Before Seeing His Sons Coach Together

Rob (Left) and Rex (Right) have spent most of their careers on opposite teams. (Getty)

Rob (Left) and Rex (Right) have spent most of their careers on opposite teams. (Getty)

Over the 2016 NFL offseason, Rex hired Rob in Buffalo as an assistant coach. The brothers spoke with MMQB about their desire for their father to watch them coach together.

“Because, who knows? He’s not going to be able to watch us coach for much longer, I don’t think. But hopefully he can see this one, because we have got big plans. Bring Belichick on. We got him,” Rob told MMQB.


3. Buddy’s Wife, Joanie, Died of Alzheimer’s in 2013

Buddy Ryan, Rex Ryan, sons, wife

Buddy had plans to retire with his wife before she passed away. (Getty)

The couple met in New York when Buddy was coaching for the Jets. They got married in 1970. The couple had retired and lived on their horse farm before she passed away in 2013.

He had a horse called Bayside Girl named after Joanie. In 2003, she moved to an assisted living unit to help care for her as she battled the Alzheimer’s disease.


4. Buddy Was the 1985 Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator

Despite numerous stops all over the NFL, Buddy has become a legend for his role as defensive coordinator on the 1985 Chicago Bears. The Bears won Super Bowl XX and are their defense is thought of as one of the best in NFL history.

Buddy’s legendary status was helped with ESPN’s recent 30 for 30 film on the 1985 Bears where he was a big focus of the documentary.


5. He Once Punched Another Coach During a Game

During his time with the Houston Oilers, Buddy punched another assistant coach Kevin Gilbride during one of the Oilers games.

It was one of the more shocking moments in NFL history. Buddy will be remembered as a tough-minded football coach, and his sons have followed in his footsteps. The Ryan brothers are known for their willingness to speak their minds.

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