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The Ryan Index, Part 2

Yesterday, we introduced the Ryan Index, a measure of defensive ability and aggressiveness. I looked at every coach who has spent time as a head coach or defensive coordinator, and calculated their Ryan Index for each season. For each team, I gave the same score to the head coach and the defensive coordinator.1 By this measure, Buddy Ryan  ranks 4th on the Ryan Index. Over the span of his 18 seasons, his teams were a total of 14.2 standard deviations above average, or 0.79 per season. That trails only three HOF coaches:

RkCoachFirst YrLast Yr# SeaScoreAvg
1Steve Owen193119532324.11.05
2Tom Landry195419883519.10.55
3Bill Belichick198520153018.90.63
4Buddy Ryan197619951814.20.79
5Bill Cowher198920061813.80.77
6Bud Carson197219972313.70.60
7George Allen196619771213.11.09
8Chuck Noll196919912312.90.56
9George Halas192019673212.10.38
10Curly Lambeau192119532611.90.46
11Pete Carroll199020151611.70.73
12George Seifert198320011710.90.64
13Andy Reid199920151710.40.61
14Lovie Smith200120151410.40.74
15Mike Ditka19821999149.80.70
16Ernie Stautner19731988169.00.56
17Brian Billick1993200799.01.00
18Hank Stram19601977178.90.53
19Tony Dungy19842008228.90.40
20Vince Lombardi19541969108.50.85
21Paul Brown19461975257.80.31
22Monte Kiffin19912013167.70.48
23Bud Grant19671985187.60.42
24Dom Capers19922015227.40.34
25Marty Schottenheimer19772006277.10.26
26Jim Lee Howell1954196076.90.98
27John Fox19942015216.90.33
28Bill Parcells19812006216.50.31
29Ron Rivera20042015116.40.59
30Mike McCarthy20002015106.40.64
31Jon Gruden19952008116.40.58
32Steve Sidwell19862002176.40.37
33John Harbaugh2008201586.20.77
34LaVern Torgeson1971197775.60.80
35Greasy Neale19411950105.50.55
36Mike Tomlin20062015105.50.55
37Tom Flores19791994125.50.45
38Don Shula19631995335.40.16
39Richie Petitbon19811993135.30.41
40Bill Arnsparger19701994184.90.27
41Jim Harbaugh2011201444.91.22
42Joe Gibbs19782007164.90.30
43Jerry Burns1968199164.80.79
44Jim Johnson19942008144.50.32
45Mike Holmgren19892008174.40.26
46Potsy Clark19311940104.40.44
47Walt Corey1986199494.40.49
48Nick Saban1991200664.10.68
49Chuck Knox19731994223.90.18
50Ron Meeks2002201093.80.43
51Sean McDermott2009201573.80.55
52Rex Ryan20052015113.80.34
53Brad Childress2002201253.70.75
54Dan Quinn2013201533.61.19
55Perry Fewell20062014103.50.35
56John Madden19691978103.50.35
57Rich Kotite1985199663.40.56
58Ray Rhodes19922005143.30.23
59Dean Pees2006201583.20.40
60Dave Adolph19851996123.20.27
61Ralph Jones1930193233.11.05
62Buddy Parker19491964153.10.21
63Fritz Shurmur19791998193.10.16
64Matt Patricia2012201543.00.75
65Ed Donatell2000200672.90.41
66Jock Sutherland1940194742.80.70
67Bruce Arians2001201532.70.92
68Jeff Fisher19892015252.70.11
69Marv Levy19781997172.70.16
70Jackie Simpson1978198252.60.53
71Jim Trimble1952195542.60.65
72Jim Fassel1992200672.60.37
73Don McCafferty1970197342.60.64
74Doug Marrone2006201422.51.23
75Bum Phillips19741985122.40.20

Ironically, Buddy’s son Rob checks out as the least Ryan-like of any coach in history. With all apologies to Katie Nolan, Rob has coached some horrible defenses and some defenses that were horrible at creating big plays.

RkCoachFirst YrLast Yr# SeaScoreAvg
529Rob Ryan2004201512-11.3-0.94
528Dave McGinnis199620039-11.2-1.25
527Rick Venturi1984200812-11.2-0.93
526Chuck Studley197919869-9.9-1.10
525Sam Wyche1984199512-9.8-0.82
524Jerry Glanville1979199315-9.5-0.64
523Larry Marmie200020056-8.3-1.39
522Jim Haslett1996201419-8.3-0.44
521Bob Hollway1971198511-8.3-0.75
520John Mazur197019806-8.0-1.33
519Jack Patera197619827-6.9-0.98
518Dennis Allen201120155-6.7-1.34
517Bob Slowik1993200810-6.5-0.65
516Mel Tucker200820148-6.0-0.75
515Jim Hanifan198019897-5.9-0.85
514Bruce Coslet198620029-5.8-0.64
513Bert Bell193619416-5.5-0.92
512Charley Winner196619757-5.5-0.78
511Norm Van Brocklin1961197413-5.5-0.42
510Tom Olivadotti198719959-5.4-0.60
509Don Coryell1973198614-5.4-0.38
508Dick LeBeau1984201428-5.2-0.19
507Doug Shivley198519935-5.2-1.03
506Harland Svare196119739-5.1-0.57
505Red Dawson194619494-5.0-1.25
504Mike McCormack197319826-5.0-0.83
503Ted Marchibroda1975199812-4.9-0.41
502Joe Kuharich1952196811-4.9-0.44
501Tom Bass196919859-4.9-0.54
500Sean Payton200020159-4.9-0.54
499Jason Tarver201220143-4.8-1.61
498Cecil Isbell194719514-4.8-1.19
497Tom Bettis1977198510-4.8-0.48
496Eric Mangini200520157-4.6-0.65
495Tom Fears196719724-4.5-1.13
494Walt Kiesling193919569-4.5-0.50
493Emmitt Thomas199520078-4.4-0.56
492George Dyer199219943-4.3-1.44
491Raheem Morris200920115-4.2-0.84
490Dick Jauron1995201218-4.2-0.23
489Norv Turner1991201515-4.1-0.27
488Phil Handler194319515-4.1-0.82
487Nick Skorich196119747-4.1-0.59
486Jimmy Phelan194819524-4.0-1.01
485Ray Horton201120155-4.0-0.79
484Jack Christiansen196319675-3.9-0.78
483Norb Hecker196619683-3.8-1.28
482Fay Abbott192819292-3.8-1.92
481Dan Henning198320107-3.8-0.55
480Mike Zimmer2000201516-3.8-0.24
479Frank Kush198219843-3.8-1.25
478Joe Bugel198119975-3.7-0.74
477Charlie Weber197019817-3.6-0.52
476David Shula198919965-3.6-0.72
475June Jones199119984-3.6-0.90
474Mike Nixon195919653-3.6-1.19
473Gene Stallings198619894-3.6-0.89
472Floyd Peters1982199413-3.5-0.27
471Joe Bach193519534-3.4-0.85
470Jason Garrett200720156-3.4-0.57
469Jim Mora199920099-3.4-0.38
468Bill Peterson197219732-3.4-1.68
467Gary Kubiak199520159-3.3-0.37
466Ron Lynn1986199611-3.3-0.30
465Kay Stephenson198319853-3.3-1.08
464Ken Whisenhunt200420158-3.2-0.41
463Red Hickey195919635-3.2-0.65
462Sam Rutigliano197819847-3.2-0.46
461Lisle Blackbourn195419574-3.2-0.80
460Gene Ronzani195019534-3.2-0.79
459Jim Vechiarella199020014-3.2-0.79
458Wayne Fontes1982199616-3.2-0.20
457Mike Nolan1993201421-3.1-0.15
456Joe Pascale199020016-3.1-0.51
455Ron Meyer198219919-3.1-0.34

I’m short on time today, so please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments.

  1. In the interest of time, I also gave the same score to each head coach in the case of multiple head coaches. Not ideal, but good enough! []
  • Clint

    This is not a terrible measure of historical greatness in coaching, really.

  • Here’s Steve Owen’s year-by-year ranks:

    year_id rating
    1931 0.65
    1932 -0.36
    1933 0.36
    1934 0.98
    1935 2.16
    1936 1.63
    1937 2.36
    1938 2.41
    1939 1.86
    1940 0.78
    1941 1.64
    1942 0.45
    1943 0.65
    1944 1.82
    1945 0.21
    1946 0.94
    1947 0.02
    1948 0.63
    1949 0.27
    1950 1.75
    1951 2.04
    1952 1.17
    1953 -0.31

  • Quinton

    I think I missed the qualifiers. Why isn’t Dick Jauron on this list for example?

    Edit: Nevermind. Found him. On the terrible list.

    • He’s on the 2nd list.

  • How does Rob Ryan keep getting defensive coordinator jobs? Is it just the last name? The biker-chic look? What is it?

    Save for a random year here or there (e.g., Saints 2012) dude has been *bad* everywhere he’s gone. He’s had a DC gig for the past 12 years and according to DSRS his defenses have been above average just four times. And it’s not like he took over bad defenses and made them better. There doesn’t seem to be any pattern.

    He’s like the anti-Wolf from Pulp Fiction. Rob Ryan: When you have a bad situation and need it to get a little bit worse.

    Buffalo fans should hope the defense is much more Rex than Rob.

  • Abe Froman

    I love that Jeff Fisher is a cumulative 2.7 z scores above the mean over 25 years.

  • Tim Truemper

    Interesting to see Landry high on the list. For much of his career his style with the basic 4-3 was read and react with not much blitzing. Later in the early to mid 80’s he started to ramp it up. Per a couple of biographies Landry put some thought to adding some 3-4 looks to add to his 4-3 flex defense.