Legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan has passed away

Ryan's sons, Rex and Rob, followed in their father's footsteps to become coaches

Buddy Ryan,NFL Chicago Bears,

Image: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP/Press Association Images

Buddy Ryan, the mind behind one of the best defences in the history of the National Football League, passed away on Tuesday. 

Ryan's agent confirmed that he had been involved in a long battle with cancer, and had passed away at the age of 82. 

As part of the Chicago Bears coaching staff, he created a defence which took the team to victory in Super Bowl XX, breaking records along the way with their dominance.

Ryan's two sons, Rex and Rob, both followed in their father's footsteps and entered the game as coaches, who now work together as head coach and defensive coordinator at the Buffalo Bills.

Speaking on ESPN radio on Tuesday morning after learning of Ryan's death, head coach of that Super Bowl winning side, Mike Ditka, said "the '85 Bears wouldn't have been the '85 Bears without Buddy Ryan. The players absolutely loved him."

Noting that the two didn't always get along, Ditka said there was a lot of respect between them, which was part of their dynamic: "We had our differences, but they were never anything that could have gotten in the way of the football team [...] what he did defensively worked, it couldn't work for anybody else."