Rhodes has helped mold some of the greatest defensive backs the NFL has seen. During his Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, legendary safety Ronnie Lott had the following words of appreciation: "To George Seifert and Ray Rhodes, they taught me the art of defense." That's lofty praise coming from a player who has defined the position of defensive back for generations to come.
Ray Rhodes began his coaching career in 1981 as an assistant secondary coach with the San Francisco 49ers. That year, he helped the 49ers make one of the biggest single season defensive turnarounds in league history. Prior to his arrival, the Niners' total defense and pass defense both ranked second to last. The following season, with Rhodes on the coaching staff, the Niners boasted the second best total team defense with a pass defense that ranked third in the league. In 11 years as a defensive backs coach (1981-1991) and one as defensive coordinator (1994), San Francisco had 10 top-ten defenses and won a dynastic five Super Bowl titles.
Ray Rhodes (Elaine Thompson/AP)
In 2003, Ray Rhodes joined Mike Holmgren's coaching staff in Seattle. Although he wasn't able to have the same kind of success with the Seahawks, Rhodes did help improve their total team defense from 28th to 19th. He also was a part of the 2006 Seahawks playoff run that culminated in Rhodes' sixth Super Bowl appearance.
Over the course of his 27-year coaching career, Rhodes has been a part of 16 top-ten defenses, with nine of those teams finishing in the top-five. He has only coached seven teams that failed rank 16th or better. This year, fans are hoping he will add a Texas sized turn around in Houston to his ongoing legacy.