Bills coach Rex Ryan and his brother-assistant Rob already had made it clear that they plan to honor the family name with the team’s performance in 2016. Following the passing of their father, Buddy, the sense of urgency has increased.
“This season means a hell of a lot to us,” Rex told Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com while driving to Kentucky for Buddy’s funeral. “Our name, our legacy, means a hell of a lot. Our dad is recognized as being one of the great defensive coaches, probably arguably the best, in the history of the game. You can’t say he’s not in the top five, certainly. And we’ve been pretty successful through the years ourselves, but nothing like we want to be. We have won five Super Bowls as a family, but we want to win our sixth at some point. And I want to win it as a head coach, because that has never been done in our family. Obviously, it’s not like these teams are going to roll down for us. We have to earn everything we get, and we’re a long-ass way away from it. It’s going to take a ton of work. But I really like my team.”
In 1985, Buddy Ryan designed and implemented a defense unlike anyone else ever has. Along the way, he did something no coach ever has done: He became a household name (at least for football fans) despite not being a head coach.
Back in the 1980s, little attention was paid on a national basis to assistant coaches. Ryan was the first one to gain widespread attention, possibly setting the stage for the media and fans to pay much closer attention to talented assistant coaches before they become head coaches.