"Ringo started for years under Vince Lombardi, but is not getting Lombardi-type results. His coaching career got off to a slow start last year when the team was 0-9 after he took over. The players think he'll win one sooner or later, though. Despite his record, they wanted him back again.
Credited with developing the 'Electric Company' while offensive line coach from 1972-76, Ringo learned his business while playing center on great Green Bay teams. After playing for Ben Schwartzwalder at Syracuse and Lombardi at Green Bay, he should know something about discipline. He's not a screamer, but he boils inside.
Ringo took over the Bills when Lou Saban walked out two days before the sixth game of the year. Unless he figures out how to put together a defense quickly, his coaching career will be a short one."
-Rich Kucner, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1977 Edition
"'I started thinking about being a player and coach when I was five or six years old and I never stopped.'
Jim Ringo's dream- to be a head coach in the National Football League- became reality on October 15, 1976 when he was named to replace Lou Saban as boss of the Buffalo Bills.
'We wanted a man we could build a future upon,' Bills owner Ralph Wilson said at the time of the coaching change, 'and we feel Jim is such a man.'
In nine games under Ringo last fall, the Bills lost by a little and a lot but, as he is quick to point out, 'they never ACCEPTED losing. The distinction is important. It turns last year agony into this year's anticipation.'
Early frustration is not new to Ringo. When he joined the Packers as a seventh round draft choice out of Syracuse University, Green Bay was a franchise in ferment. In Jim's first season (1953), the Pack was a punchless 2-9-1 and, over the next five years, their best mark was a break-even 6-6 in 1955.
Ringo endured ... and, ultimately, he succeeded.
He made the All-Pro team in 1957, no small feat for the center on a 3-9 club that finished dead last in the NFL's Western Conference. It became an annual honor for the Syracuse product, who was selected eight times before he retired in 1967. He also made 10 appearances in the Pro Bowl.
Ringo's quiet leadership won the respect of his Packer teammates who elected him Green Bay captain eight times.
In 1959, Vince Lombardi arrived in Green Bay and Packers fortunes turned sharply upward. Green Bay won the Western Division title in 1960 and the NFL Championship in 1961 and 1962.
Traded to the Philadelphia Eagles after 11 seasons with the Packers, Jim played four years in Philadelphia before retiring. He established a National Football record for endurance, playing in 182 straight games over his 14 campaigns.
Appointed offensive line coach of the Chicago Bears in 1969, Ringo stayed there three seasons before leaving to accept a similar position with the Bills in 1972.
Like the Packers of the early 1950's, the Bills of the early 1970's were long on problems, short on solutions. Buffalo was recovering from a 1-13 season in 1971 and was especially talent-thin on the offensive line. To add to the dilemma, seven guards or centers were lost to injuries in 1972. Despite it all, Buffalo improved its rushing production by 800 yards over 1971 and O.J. Simpson won his first NFL ground-gaining title.
A year later, the Bills were the talk of professional football and the offensive line the cornerstone of the attack. The 1973 season will be remembered as the year Simpson broke the 2,000-yard rushing barrier and Buffalo became the first club to gain more than 3,000 yards on the ground.
The Bills' 1973 offensive line was named NFL Blockers of the Year by the National 1,000-Yard Foundation, the first time an entire unit had been so cited. Ringo was also honored by the 1,000-Yard Foundation as NFL Assistant Coach of the Year for, as one writer said at the time, 'a coaching job that ranks with the best of his All-Pro accomplishments as a player.'
Two Buffalo offensive linemen won All-Pro laurels under Ringo's tutelage- guard Reggie McKenzie in 1973 and guard Joe DeLamielleure in 1975 and again last fall. DeLamielleure has appeared in two Pro Bowl games (1976, 1977) and tackle Dave Foley in one (1974).
In 15 seasons as a player and seven years as an assistant coach, Jim Ringo has established a reputation as an ultimate professional.
Professional ... no one word is more descriptive of the head coach of the Buffalo Bills."
-Buffalo Bills 1977 Press-Radio-TV Yearbook