Nobody knows the torture of suffering through bad head coaches quite like Philadelphia Eagles fans. Hell, there are even some fans who considered the last few years of Andy Reid, the winning-est coach in team history, as cruel and unusual punishment.
However, there is no way on earth Andy Reid would or should ever make anybody’s list of worst head coaches in the NFL.
Surprisingly, at least to me, was that Deadspin put one of the most celebrated coaches in Eagles history in Buddy Ryan as their No. 16.
Here’s what they had to say:
Is any crappy coach in league history more beloved by a fan base than Buddy Ryan still is in Philly? He gave reporters entertaining quotes, often at the expense of his own players.
He once put a bounty on the Cowboys’ kicker. He punched Kevin Gilbride, and even if it happened when he was in Houston, the act only endeared Ryan that much more to the likes of Paulie from East Passyunk. (According to the late Dave Duerson, Buddy was also something of a racist.)
“Buddy Ryan,” A.J. Daulerio once wrote, “was a walking, talking version of the mythology Philadelphia fans idolize about themselves.” People in Philly like Buddy Ryan because Buddy Ryan wasn’t Andy Reid, never mind that Buddy Ryan, with his immensely talented roster, never won a single playoff game (something even Rich Kotite did in Philly).
A month after the Gilbride punch, the Cardinals grabbed Ryan to try to rescue the franchise.* “You’ve got a winner in town,” Ryan declared during his introductory press conference in the desert. He went on to win 12 games in two seasons before getting shitcanned again.
Granted, Ryan never won a playoff game, but how on earth can you justify rating him as one of the worst head coaches in modern NFL history? That’s just completely ridiculous!
You mean to tell me that a guy who built the Gang Green defense and made the playoffs in three of his five years as coach — all during a time that the NFC East had dominating competition — is one of the NFL’s worst?
They couldn’t find a worse coach than that? They need to expand their research department because just off the top of my head, I can name several coaches who fared much worse than Buddy Ryan…
Dave Wannstedt, Chan Gailey, Eric Mangini, Jim Haslett, and Dave Campo all come to mind. I’m sure there are several others as well.
I’m a huge Buddy Ryan fan and I have fond memories of that era. I realize he was not the greatest coach as far as managing a team goes, plus he was an abject failure in Arizona, but there have bee plenty head coaches in the NFL that have been far, far worse.
To put him on that list is just lazy…or the list creator has something against him for some reason. Either way, he doesn’t belong there.
Buddy is a beloved coach by many in Philadelphia because he was the kind of guy who didn’t take any crap and spoke his mind. It didn’t hurt that he created the most memorable Eagles defense in team history as well (and in NFL history for that matter).
In fact, I wrote an article a couple years ago titled “The Buddy Ryan Era” highlighting some things about that time. I’m linking to that here as my rebuttal to Deadspin’s offensive claim that Ryan is one of the 16 worst coaches in modern history.
Furthermore, if you looked at Deadspin’s list, you might have noticed two other former Eagles head coaches on there: Rich Kotite and Marion Campbell.
However, those two guys are well deserving of being on that list. Kotite was simply a moron and Campbell was just not cut out for head coaching.
My favorite Kotite moment was the “decline the penalty and punt” debacle. During a game, the Eagles had a third and long situation and the play came up a few yards short of the first down.
However, there was a defensive penalty on the play that would have given them another shot at making the first down. Instead, after a timeout to discuss the situation, Kotite elected to decline the penalty and punt the ball away!
Another thing to notice about Deadspin’s list is that Campbell, Kotite and Ryan all coached the Eagles in consecutive years between 1983 and 1994. So, according to them, Philadelphia was mired in historically bad coaching for 12 straight seasons!
ESPN’s list was a little better, or at least more realistic. They had two former Eagles coaches on there: Kotite, who was also on Deadspin’s list, and Bert Bell, who coached the Eagles to a 10-44 record of the span of five seasons from 1936-1940.
The Eagles have suffered from more than their fair share of inept coaching over the years. That includes a span from 1961 – 1975 where five head coaches had a total record of 74-127-9.
If you think you suffered the last few years under Andy Reid, ask your parents or grandparents about that time frame. They only had one season with a winning record during that time span, and that was in 1961.
That was bad coaching.