NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Some reactions Monday to the death of Titans owner Bud Adams. He was 90.
"When my father Lamar set out to start a new league to rival the NFL in 1959, the first person he went to visit was Bud Adams. Lamar, Bud and the other visionary owners of the American Football League believed that fans across the country would embrace pro football if given the chance, and they were right. ... Lamar and Bud enjoyed a friendship that spanned five decades and saw the emergence of pro football as America's Game. Our family will always appreciate Bud's spirited and enthusiastic support of my father's "foolish" idea, and we are saddened today by the news of his passing."
“Although Lamar’s Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs and Bud’s Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans were natural rivals on the field, Lamar and Bud enjoyed a friendship that spanned five decades and saw the emergence of pro football as America’s Game. Our family will always appreciate Bud’s spirited and enthusiastic support of my father’s “foolish” idea, and we are saddened today by the news of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with the Adams family and the Tennessee Titans organization.”
— Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt
"As original AFL team owners, we all shared a common bond and a deep sense of pride in where we started in 1960 to where the NFL is today and how much our fans enjoy the game of professional football. Bud certainly played an important role in the growth and development of our game and today I am remembering with great fondness all the laughs we shared with the special memories over the years. Through it all, our teams played some of the most memorable games in AFL and NFL history."
— Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr.
"Bud Adams played a pivotal role in the growth of pro football as a pioneer and innovator. As a founding owner of the American Football League that began play in 1960, Bud saw the potential of pro football and brought the game to new cities and new heights of popularity, first in Houston and then in Nashville. He was a brilliant entrepreneur with a terrific sense of humor that helped lighten many a tense meeting. His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering, and his personal along with the team's impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL. Bud was truly a gift to the NFL. We extend our deepest sympathy to his daughters Susan and Amy, and the entire family."
— NFL commissioner Roger Goodell
"We at LP are saddened by news of the passing of Bud Adams. Mr. Adams was not only a shrewd businessman and fantastic business partner, but a giving and compassionate person as well. That is especially true when it came to aiding others through his charitable works. While his presence in professional football is the stuff of legends, his work aiding soldiers and veterans with organizations such as the Titans Foundation and Operation Finally Home leave a legacy that will span generations. Our thoughts are with the Adams family and the Tennessee Titans organization during these difficult times."
— Louisiana-Pacific Corp. CEO Curt Stevens
"We have been friends for over 30 years and our city has lost a great Houstonian. Bud brought football to Houston as the city's first professional sports venture. As a founding member of the AFL, Bud had a vision, he saw the league through tough years and was instrumental in the AFL merging to become the NFL we know and love today. ...Bud knew I had a passion for NFL ownership and helped me along the path toward where I am now. In the early 1990s, he was vital in getting me involved with the NFL which eventually led to expansion."
— Houston Texans owner Bob McNair
"Mr. Adams gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL, and I'm eternally grateful to him for that. We enjoyed a great deal of success together during my 17 seasons with the organization, and I'll cherish those memories for the rest of my life. My respect for Mr. Adams goes well beyond the owner/coach relationship that we shared for many years. He was a pioneer in the football business. He played a key role in creating and sustaining the American Football League, which helped push the popularity of our game to where it is today. My thoughts and prayers are with the Adams family during this difficult time.”
— St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher, former Oilers-Titans coach between November 1994 and January 2011
"He could have just eased through life. A lot of people do that, and he didn't. He went out and lived it. He did things the way he wanted to, and sometimes we'd all wring our hands when he said what he wanted to. And I admire him for it. Probably most of us should do a little more of that."
— Phil Bredesen, former Nashville mayor and Tennessee governor who negotiated the Oilers' relocation with Adams
"He would come up at times and always would be in the locker room after games. ... He had been around for so long, he had seen so many different things. There was definitely a feeling in our locker room, coaching staff and whole organization that we wanted to go out and win for him. We got to the Super Bowl, but we were a couple plays short of being able to present him a trophy."
— Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz and former Titans defensive coordinator
"We are sad to hear about the passing of Titans Owner Bud Adams. I will never forget when I first bought the Redskins how gracious he was and the passion that he had for pro football. It was wonderful to be one of his friends."
— Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder
"Loyalty was always a strong trademark of Bud Adams. He turned down an opportunity to place an NFL team in Houston, because he had already made a prior commitment to Lamar Hunt and the AFL. Bud was a role model for me. He was a great man and a great Texan. He will be missed and remembered."
— Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
"Anyone who has ever enjoyed the experience of NFL football - fans, sponsors, business partners, players, coaches, club staff and club owners - owes Bud Adams a tremendous debt of gratitude today."
— Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank
"Mr. Adams was profoundly instrumental in the growth of professional football and his historical influence on our game is undeniable. His contributions will continue to positively impact the communities of Houston and the state of Tennessee as well as the entire NFL."
— Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand
“We are deeply saddened by today’s news of the passing of Bud Adams. Mr. Adams was instrumental in the formation and development of the American Football League, the Houston Oilers, the Tennessee Titans and the National Football League and his impact on professional football is immeasurable. Our condolences go out to his daughters Susan and Amy, his entire family and the Titans organization.”
— The Oakland Raiders
“Bud Adams was a pioneer in the game we all love. Like Barron Hilton with the Chargers, he was one of the founding owners in the American Football League; a decision that ultimately helped football grow and prosper to become our country’s most popular sport. And his influence in the League has been felt well beyond the AFL and its merger with the NFL. He loved the game and that love and passion is still felt throughout the league today. It has been a privilege for our family to know Bud and his family over the years. On behalf of the Spanos family and the entire Chargers organization, we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and everyone in the Titans’ organization.”
— San Diego Chargers chairman of the board-president Dean Spanos
"Bud Adams is a very important figure in the history of Nashville. Bringing the Titans here was an enormous event in the history of the city. It put us up in the major leagues. It was an event that moved our city forward and has been overwhelmingly positive.
"I had several opportunities to meet with Mr. Adams over the years and he was always a very gracious, kind person. I'm personally thankful for his generosity with the many different charities that he has supported here in Nashville. I'm particularly thankful in recent years for the support the Titans have given us on our city health initiatives, hosting events at LP Field.
"Mr. Adams lived a full life and he will certainly be missed."
— Nashville Mayor Karl Dean
"Tennesseans will remember and always be grateful to Bud Adams for bringing us the excitement of professional football, as well as for his big and generous heart."
— U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R.-Tenn.
"Bud obviously played a critical role in bringing professional football to Nashville and Tennessee. Nashville has grown and exploded. Honestly, being the home of a professional football team has made a big difference there. I'm really sad to hear (about his death), sorry for his family. I think it's really important we recognize the contribution he's made to the state."
— Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam
"To the Family and loved ones, Friends and Fans of Mr. Bud Adams and the Tennessee Titans, Please allow me to convey to you all my sincere condolences for the loss of this extraordinary man, leader and patriot.
While Mr. Adams' magnificent contributions to professional football are well and widely known, I would like to take this opportunity to express my own appreciation for his outstanding patriotism and support to the American men and women in uniform. Bud's support and, by extension, that of the Titan's organization to the Soldiers and Families of Fort Campbell, Kentucky was both superb and enduring. This support was especially important in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and beyond, particularly over the last twelve years when the stress of our Nation's longest war imposed unique stresses on the men, women and Families of the combat formations of Fort Campbell. All of these units were - and remain - deeply engaged in the fight. Bud's embrace of the Green Berets of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Nightstalkers of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) and, of course, the Screaming Eagles of the mighty 101st Airborne Division (Airborne) and the Families of them all was personal, deep and massively appreciated by us all.
Bud's patriotism went well beyond words; it manifested itself in actions that cascaded throughout his organization. I have personally seen the outreach by the Titans toward the Soldiers and Families of Fort Campbell, and the various forms that outreach took. There is no more important message that can be transmitted to our warriors and their Families than that their fellow citizens care for them, and Bud cared deeply. He and the Titans transmitted that signal loud and clear, without any desire for recognition, and has done so for over twelve years. That outreach, ultimately, was the direct result of this wonderful Patriot's personal instincts and leadership. May God bless and keep Bud and his Family, may He bless and protect the organization he built and all within it. We will miss Bud greatly. May God continue to bless and protect our men and women in harm's way, and May God continue to bless our great Country.
Strength and Honor
- John F. Mulholland -- Lieutenant General, U.S. Army
"Over the past twelve years, I have had the pleasure of building a relationship with the Tennessee Titans organization. The relationship has had many facets to it, that ranged from attendance to games, visits to the Titans' training complex, and hosting members of the Titans at Fort Campbell, all of which built lasting friendships. Many of these events included interaction with Mr. Adams. Whether directly interacting with Mr. Adams or with other members of the Titans family, it was always clear that this relationship was possible for one reason ... Mr. Adams. His heartfelt appreciation for the military during this time of conflict affected not only thousands of our Soldiers, but often afforded our Families a few hours of reprieve from the stresses this war has placed on so many, when we would join the Titans at LP Field. My most lasting memory of Mr. Adams will always be the smiles that he inevitably brought to the faces of those he touched and the friendships he helped to forged. While I share in the feeling of loss in Mr. Adams' passing, I'm proud to have known this true American Patriot and take comfort in knowing he made a difference in so many of our lives.
Strength and Honor
- Scott E. Brower -- Col., SF; Chief of Staff, USASOC