Former standout defensive coordinator and head coach in the NFL Buddy Ryan passed away on Tuesday at the age of 82.

Ryan coached for 35 seasons with seven different teams, and he caught the eyes of many with his defensive knowledge.

In ’86, Ryan became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, after completing arguably the greatest defensive season as the defensive coordinator for the ’85 Chicago Bears. When he arrived, one of his first hires was Wade Phillips.


On Tuesday, Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips joined Gil Whiteley on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to talk about his time that he shared with Buddy Ryan.

“He was very personable and fun to be around,” said Phillips. “Of course he was very smart. I think Buddy was definitely a genius.”

Ryan knew how to get his players going, and on the field, it showed. The ’85 Bears tallied the highest amount of sacks in a single season in NFL history with 72. His 46 defense was revolutionary at the time, and adding more blitzers than the line could handle was the key to success.

“Every once in a while, when they made a first down, he would get on the headset and say run the blitz,” Phillips said. “He was a get-mad-at-them-and-stop-them-kind of coach.”

This tactic worked flawlessly at the time, as the ’85 Bears led the league in nearly every defensive statistic including interceptions, total yards allowed, rushing touchdowns allowed and forced turnovers.

They went on to win the Super Bowl that year, racking up seven sacks in the title game.

“He was always himself,” said Phillips. “He was still brash and unfiltered, but that’s what you liked about him. You knew what you were getting.”

To hear to the full discussion, as well as a few other personal stories from Wade Phillips, listen to the podcast below.

Catch Gil Whiteley every weekday from 11a-1p on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.