Buddy Ryan: Cowboys 'lucky' to hire son

IRVING, Texas -- Once one of the Dallas Cowboys' fiercest rivals, Buddy Ryan now finds himself having to root for them with his son Rob taking over as Jason Garrett's defensive coordinator.

"They're lucky they got a guy like Rob," Buddy said Wednesday via telephone from his Kentucky home. "He's a helluva coach, and he'll do a great job for them. ... He'll bring a lot of enthusiasm. He'll get the best out of his players. He'll be up their ass and they'll get going."

Rob Ryan, who was officially hired by the team Wednesday afternoon, has been a coordinator since 2004. He spent five seasons in Oakland and the last two in Cleveland.

His twin brother, Rex, has the New York Jets one win away from Super Bowl XLV in Arlington.

Buddy Ryan said the type of 3-4 scheme his sons run can be different.

"It depends on the players," Buddy said. "And both of them have a great knack for getting the best out of their people."

Buddy Ryan riled up Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, players and fans from games in 1987 and 1989 while coaching the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I always had some great rivalries with the Cowboys in Chicago and the Jets and Philadelphia," Ryan said. "The Cowboys were always up toward the top and everybody envied them, you know?"

On Oct. 25, 1987 at Veterans Stadium, Ryan called for a deep ball in the final seconds after two Randall Cunningham kneel-downs with Philadelphia assured of a win. The play drew a pass interference penalty and Keith Byars scored with a second to left in the Eagles' 37-20 win.

Two weeks earlier the Cowboys beat the Eagles 41-22 in a game mostly between replacement players; however, the Cowboys had Tony Dorsett, Randy White and Danny White available.

"They played their starting front four on defense and substituted them again at halftime," Ryan said. "They had Tony Dorsett. They brought in their quarterback. I'm playing with a bunch of guys off the street. So when they came to Philadelphia, I said they were going to get beat and that's what we did."

Nov. 23, 1989 was the famous Bounty Bowl, in which bounties of $200 and $500 were put on kicker Luis Zendejas and Troy Aikman. Philadelphia won 27-0 but Ryan never met up with Jimmy Johnson after the game.

"I don't know for sure, but I don't think Dallas ever beat Philadelphia when I was there," Ryan said. "Unless you count the scab game and I don't."

Not including the 1987 game, the Cowboys were 1-8 against Ryan's Eagles from 1986-90.

Buddy Ryan's coaching career actually started at Gainesville High School in 1957. Two years later he was the head coach. The school held a tribute for Ryan a few years ago on a homecoming weekend.

"It was about three days of parties," Ryan said. "Those guys were only about 10 years younger than them. That was my first job out in coaching. That was great times when it's your first coaching job. These guys were good football players. They all got scholarships in the Southwest Conference. They all did well. Some of them are lawyers."

Buddy said he will be at the Super Bowl in a few weeks and pointed out that he and Rob have two Super Bowl rings each, and Rex will tie them soon.

"He's getting another one this year," Buddy said.

Todd Archer covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com contributed to this report.