Coach Buddy Ryan was fired Tuesday by the Philadelphia Eagles, three days after his team lost its first-round NFL playoff game for the third year in a row.

Ryan, who took over the Eagles in 1986 and turned them into a playoff team by 1988, had another month remaining on his five-year contract. Eagles owner Norman Braman praised Ryan's record, but said it wasn't good enough."This obviously is not an easy decision to make," Braman said. "Buddy Ryan has done a good job with this football team. I feel, however, that in order for the Philadelphia Eagles to ascend to the next plateau, a change in coaching is necessary."Ryan's dismissal seemed a foregone conclusion after the Eagles' demoralizing 20-6 playoff loss last Saturday to the Washington Redskins.

In the third quarter, with Washington ahead 13-6, Ryan benched Randall Cunningham in favor of little-used Jim McMahon, who came in and threw three incomplete passes. Cunningham returned for the Eagles' next series.

After the game, Braman said, "Seven points behind and he embarrasses Randall before a national television audience."

In his five seasons, Ryan led the Eagles to the NFC East title once (in 1988) and had a 43-35-1 record. But the record that may have cost Ryan his job was 0-3 in playoff games.