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Bears praise Buddy Ryan’s “unwavering confidence” in his players

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Mike Florio reflects on Buddy Ryan after he died on Tuesday, saying that the coach was arguably the best defensive mind the NFL has ever seen. Florio also explains why the 46 defense was created by Ryan.

Legendary Bears defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan has died at the age of 82. The franchise with which he became a household name has praised his work with the team.

“Buddy Ryan was the architect of the greatest defense our league has seen,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said in a statement issued by the team. “He was brilliant when it came to the X’s and O’s of the game, but what made him special was his ability to create an unwavering confidence in the players he coached. From the day he was hired in 1978, his defenses bought into more than the scheme, they bought into him and took on his personality. Buddy was brash, intelligent and tough. He was a perfect match for our city and team, which is why George Halas took the extraordinary step of keeping him at the behest of his defensive players while transitioning to a new coaching staff in 1982. We will always be grateful for Buddy’s contribution to the Bears. He is one of the team’s all-time greats. Our prayers are with his family.”

It was Ryan, combined with coach Mike Ditka, who led the Bears to their only Super Bowl championship, in 1985. Ryan’s defense pitched back-to-back shutouts in the NFC playoffs before allowing only 10 points to the Patriots in the title game.