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NFL Family Legacies: The Ryans

  • Post category:All Sports
  • Reading time:7 mins read
  • Post last modified:July 6, 2023

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Most NFL families have two or three members in their collection. The Ryans are one of the few who can boast 4. Granted none of the Ryans have played for the NFL, but each has coached major teams in the league.

Each one of the Ryans affected the odds in their time, and to this day the latest NFL odds are still being affected by at least one Ryan.

  Buddy Ryan

Buddy, born in 1931, was known as a coach more than a player. However, he did play for Oklahoma State (then known as Oklahoma A&M University) between 1952 and 1955.

After he left university, Ryan joined the army for the Korean War. Because he served the country, Ryan couldn’t continue in active sports. Instead, he started coaching.

Ryan coached for a high school first, Gainesville High School, before climbing the ranks to head coach at Marshall High School.

It didn’t take long for him to move to College coaching. And 5 years later, Ryan was coaching for the New York Jets. The Jets were part of the American League back then.

It was during this time that Ryan “invented” the blitz tactic. He believed that the quarterback was the most important part of the offensive team, so all of the defensive players needed to protect him and attack the other team’s QB.

This tactic afforded Ryan his first-ever Super Bowl ring.

Throughout his coaching career, Buddy worked with the following teams:

  • University of Buffalo
  • Pacific
  • Vanderbilt
  • New York Jets
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • Chicago Bears
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Houston Oilers
  • Arizona Cardinals

Every time he coached a new team he always put emphasis on their defense. He was a defensive specialist and perfected the 46 Defense tactic – a move that’s very common in modern-day NFL.

Buddy shaped the defensive play styles of the NFL, and his sons helped continue his legacy.

  Rex Ryan

Although Rex is American, he spent most of his youth in Canada. Canada didn’t have a strong American Football culture, but that didn’t stop him from following in his father’s footsteps.

Like-father like-son, Rex specialized in defensive maneuvers. He started by playing for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University as a defensive end. But his dream was always to become a coach like his dad.

In 1986 Rex got his dream and became a graduate assistant for the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Granted Rex got the job after Buddy pulled some strings, but in those two years, Rex started to make his own presents known.

From there Rex jumped from one assistant job to another, until 1990 when he became the Defensive Coordinator for Morehead State.

Although he was doing well, Rex wanted more. With help from his dad, Rex was hired as the defensive assistant for the Arizona Cardinals – his first position in the NFL. At that time Buddy was working as the head coach for the same team.

Soon Rex was able to branch out on his own and secured his own contracts. In 2010 he started making claims that the New York Jets would win the Super Bowl under his name. In 2011 those comments made real negative effects by putting too much pressure on the team.

Rex had to back down and made a public apology for his outlandish statements.

That being said Rex did win a Super Bowl championship at one point. He beat the NFL odds and brought the Baltimore Ravens to victory as an assistant head coach.

  Rob Ryan

Rob Ryan is Rex’s twin. Like his brother, Rob played as a defensive end for Southwestern Oklahoma State University. However, unlike his brother, Rob tried to make it on his own.

He was a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky, then an assistant coach at Ohio State and Tennessee State before making it into the NFL coaching ranks in 1994.

Like his brother, you can attribute this shift to his father as they both joined the Arizona Cardinals. In that year, the Cardinals became the second-best NFL defensive team in the season.

However, Ryan was fired from the Cardinals. The reason for the firing is unclear, and every now and then Rob Ryan was told to leave each of his teams.

He was fired from the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills. A reputation like that shows that Rob wasn’t up to scratch.

  Seth Ryan

Our last Ryan in the NFL lineup was born in 1994. Not much is known about Seth. He was a wide receiver for the Clemson Tigers and was redshirted with them to extend his playing time.

One of his starring moments for that team was when they defeated the legendary and formidable Alabama team, winning the college football Playoff National Championship.

In 2019, Seth turned to coaching. He was hired by the Los Angeles Charges as a quality control coach. He was then promoted to Assistant Wide Receiver Coach for the Detroit Lions.

  Final Thoughts

As a family, the Ryans were never players, they were always coaches. They owned the defensive strategies of our time, and although tempers often ride high, each one knew how to manipulate the field. Let’s see if more Ryans join the family in the future.

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Kamran Khan

A geek, who just loves to update sports, gaming, and tech updates from around the world to the other geeks out there. A passionate sports lover, a tech geek from the mind, and a gamer from the heart.

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