James (Buddy) Ryan, the father of twin brothers, Rex and Rob, and the architect of the Chicago Bears' famed "46 defense" died Tuesday morning at the age of 82.
Ryan's health had deteriorated in recent years as he battled cancer. He attended a Buffalo game last season in a wheelchair to watch son Rex's Bills.
He got a taste of being a champion as defensive coordinator with the title-winning New York Jets in Super Bowl III and was credited with being the difference-maker when the Chicago Bears crushed the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.
He coached in the NFL, either as a head coach or an assistant for 35 years.
His crowning achievement though came as assistant with the Bears when he installed the "46 defense".
The foundation for the vaunted "46" was laid when Ryan was an assistant under Weeb Ewbank with the New York Jets. Seeing how pressure affected Jets quarterback Joe Namath inspired Ryan to come up with defensive schemes to do the same to opposing quarterbacks.
Winning the Super Bowl in 1985 made him prime head coaching material and the Philadelphia Eagles wasted no time in naming Ryan.
His success as an assistant coach didn't translate as a head coach. Ryan compiled a 55-55-1 record in his five seasons with the Eagles and one year with the Arizona Cardinals.
His teams made the postseason three times, but never won a game.
Ryan was also volatile and had dustups with just about anyone who crossed him. The most famous was when he was with the Houston Oilers and took a swing at fellow assistant coach, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride on the sidelines during a game. Ryan was angry that Gilbride was running a "chuck and duck" offense.
He also had to be separated from his head coach, Mike Ditka, at halftime in Miami of the Bears' only loss in 1985.