Skip to content

Titans owner Bud Adams dies at 90

Bud Adams AP

Kenneth Stanley “Bud” Adams Jr., the Tennessee Titans owner who has been a significant figure in professional football for more than half a century, has died at the age of 90.

Adams, who founded the Houston Oilers at the outset of the American Football League, had owned his franchise longer than any other current NFL owner, a few months ahead of fellow AFL originator Ralph Wilson of the Bills. Adams owned the team in Houston from 1960 until 1996, then moved the franchise to Tennessee in 1997.

Multiple media outlets reported on Monday morning that Adams has died of natural causes. The Titans confirmed Adams’ death on Monday afternoon.

After the franchise achieved its 400th win at the end of the 2011 season, Adams liked to point out that he had more victories than any other current owner. He also wasn’t shy about expressing his opinions about football matters, heaping praise on his team when it did well and openly criticizing coaches when the team wasn’t up to standards. He was even known to get into it with fans a time or two.

Adams grew up in Okalahoma and played college football for the Kansas Jayhawks before serving in the Navy during World War II. After getting into the oil business in the 1940s, Adams began to express interest in owning a professional football team. An attempt to purchase the Chicago Cardinals didn’t pan out, and that’s when Adams turned his attention toward joining with other businessmen to start the AFL. That group of businessmen went from a thorn in the side of the NFL to major drivers of the growth of pro football, and Adams will be remembered as a man who helped shape the sport through six decades.

Permalink 56 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Rumor Mill, Tennessee Titans, Top Stories
56 Responses to “Titans owner Bud Adams dies at 90”
  1. joetoronto says: Oct 21, 2013 1:00 PM

    Boy, things will certainly be different in Titan Land now.

    RIP.

  2. gotitan says: Oct 21, 2013 1:00 PM

    RIP, Bud!

  3. chawk12thman says: Oct 21, 2013 1:00 PM

    Thanks Mr. Adams for starting the AFL and helping to make the NFL what it is today. RIP.

  4. mailmanmalone says: Oct 21, 2013 1:00 PM

    Sad. RIP

  5. corkspop says: Oct 21, 2013 1:01 PM

    Wow! He was one of the originals. And very dedicated to the sport. Will be missed.

  6. jae121704 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:01 PM

    R.I.P. Mr Adams!

  7. alonestartexan says: Oct 21, 2013 1:03 PM

    Bud was a good man and a good football man (when he wasn’t meddling) He’ll be missed!

    RIP Bud!

  8. multiplemiggs says: Oct 21, 2013 1:04 PM

    No wonder he chose Titans, he created the AFL. That was the NY team in the AFL. Now my Jets. RIP! Thanks for the AFL!

  9. jbaxt says: Oct 21, 2013 1:05 PM

    Another great one has passed on. I’m sure Lamar Hunt is up there waiting for you.

    God rest your soul!

  10. dtownsportslions says: Oct 21, 2013 1:07 PM

    Legend. RIP.

  11. southpaw79 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:07 PM

    RIP Bud.

  12. otistaylor89 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:07 PM

    Bud, Don James and Bum Phillips all died this week.
    RIP

  13. kane337 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:07 PM

    RIP Bud Adams. Thanks for all of your contributions to the AFL and NFL.

  14. DonRSD says: Oct 21, 2013 1:08 PM

    RIP buddy.

  15. sportnman says: Oct 21, 2013 1:08 PM

    He was a good man, a kind owner, and did a lot for the community!

  16. jebdamone says: Oct 21, 2013 1:10 PM

    bud was a great NFL personality. im not a titans fan but its always sad to see relics like bud pass on.

  17. jgedgar70 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:11 PM

    First Bum Phillips and now Bud Adams. Been a rough few days for that franchise. RIP.

  18. babyphife says: Oct 21, 2013 1:11 PM

    these old school owners like Bud Adams, Lamar Hunt, Leon Hess, Al Davis,Joe Robbie, Mara all had sooooo much more presence and panache than these new guys like Snyder, Blank, Woody Johnson, Steven Ross…….these guys today are so vanilla and corporate….the old school guys were like cowboys in the wild west

  19. nolahxc says: Oct 21, 2013 1:12 PM

    He was an exciting fella! RIP Bud!

  20. newagerocker says: Oct 21, 2013 1:14 PM

    RIP Mr. Adams. Know your history… Bud was one of the architects of the NFL as we know it today.

  21. skoobyfl says: Oct 21, 2013 1:18 PM

    As a Bills fan, I just wanted to say so long Bud.

  22. mccannagm says: Oct 21, 2013 1:20 PM

    RIP Mr Adams, because of you and the other AFL owners this league would not have turned into the greatest American sport.
    I will always laugh when you flipped off my Buffalo Bills fans 3 years ago!

  23. baltimoresnativeson says: Oct 21, 2013 1:21 PM

    One of my favorite owners ever since as he flipped off the Bills fans, classic. I get sick of all the political correctness.

  24. kane337 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:21 PM

    Bum Phillips died 3 days ago and now Bud Adams. Both pass at the age of 90. Both were icons with the Houston Oilers organization.

  25. dctitanfan says: Oct 21, 2013 1:24 PM

    Luv ya Blue. Luv ya Bud.

    …and thank you for bringing Warren Moon and Steve McNair to the team!

  26. edelmanfanclub says: Oct 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    An “OG” to say the least. RIP Bud

  27. dan7800 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:26 PM

    “before serving in the Navy during World War II”

    - An American Hero. Sadly, there are less and less of this generation with each passing day.

  28. tennesseeoilers says: Oct 21, 2013 1:27 PM

    With Bud Adams’ passing, the Titans’ next move likely involves handing the franchise to 28-year-old Sewanee grad Kenneth Adams IV.

  29. tolan04 says: Oct 21, 2013 1:27 PM

    Rip bud Ralph Wilson last one left of the originals

  30. realfootballfan says: Oct 21, 2013 1:30 PM

    Colorful old guy. That leaves only Ralph Wilson as the last of those originals who started the AFL with Adams and Al Davis both gone now.

  31. vegasgreek says: Oct 21, 2013 1:32 PM

    THANKS BUD FOR ALL THE GREAT PLAYERS YOU TRADED TO AL DAVIS ! RIP !

  32. steeldominance says: Oct 21, 2013 1:32 PM

    The associated picture should of been him flipping the bird.

  33. landroo says: Oct 21, 2013 1:42 PM

    All respect and RIP to Bud Adams.

    Too bad Peyton is still playing, I think he would be in play for part-ownership of the Titans, ala Elway/Broncos.

    Manning will be an NFL owner someday…the question is where? Would Irsay allow him back under the Colts umbrella? I don’t see him co-existing with that guy on an ownership level.

    Buffalo is too far north and small-market. Where will PM land??

  34. zerohandicapper says: Oct 21, 2013 1:58 PM

    I was fortunate to meet him a couple of times when I was in college. My baseball teammates parents were friends of his and he would always ask us to come to use his suite for the Astros games. Was a very nice man and quite a character!

  35. kaptingavrin says: Oct 21, 2013 2:01 PM

    Thought I loathe the Titans*, I still have plenty of respect for Adams and what he’s done. Sad day for the sport. But on the bright side, 90′s a pretty good life.

    *I’m a Jags fan. And I remember 1999 all too well.

  36. hpeters77 says: Oct 21, 2013 2:04 PM

    Rip, sorry for you’ll lost, our prayers are with you’ll from the who dat nation

  37. 0c8e14ca says: Oct 21, 2013 2:06 PM

    Despite some well documented antics (here) and a nasty divorce from Houston – having less of one of the old guard in the league will be a shame – when the current administration is finished – we will not recognize a once great sport…

  38. gallaghedj311 says: Oct 21, 2013 2:08 PM

    Rest in peace Bud Adams. Thank you for being a pioneer of the sport I love most

  39. nfloracle says: Oct 21, 2013 2:32 PM

    Just don’t go flipping the bird up there at the Pearly Gates, Bud, and you’ll get in to have a drink or three with Lamar Hunt and Al Davis. What a great trio of owners… back in the day.

  40. whodatnhollywood says: Oct 21, 2013 2:46 PM

    First Bum, now Bud. They gave us some memorable “Love Ya Blue” days. Dan Pastorini, Earl Campbell, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. Those were the days. Thanks for the childhood memories.

  41. skins1976 says: Oct 21, 2013 2:51 PM

    Sad day for the NFL. Certainly an old school name that I’ve become accustomed to hearing over the course of 20+ years.

  42. billsfanaddict says: Oct 21, 2013 2:52 PM

    nlm nlm …a double fisted salute to a classy gentleman

  43. paychrisjohnson28 says: Oct 21, 2013 3:01 PM

    Sad Day for the NFL ….RIP Bud Adams…from an Oilers/Titans fan since 1978

  44. rajbais says: Oct 21, 2013 3:41 PM

    The Titans/Oilers family lost two legends in the past few days.

    First, Bum Phillips and now Bud Adams.

    Sad day for the organization.

  45. 2late2matter says: Oct 21, 2013 3:50 PM

    Although a Cowboy’s fan, I met Mr. Adams while riding in an elevator at the old Oilers training facility in Houston back in the early 1980s.

    Short, quiet, polite I recall like yesterday his jacketed white shirt which exposed the burgundy monogram on his sleeve cuff.

    Am certain that he, Bum, Tex Schramm and Tom Landry will still enjoy their in-state rivalry up top!

    RIP, “Bud” Adams. And thanks.

  46. MyTeamsAllStink says: Oct 21, 2013 4:02 PM

    Rest in peace mr Adams

  47. megaroad1 says: Oct 21, 2013 4:16 PM

    Only Ralph Wilson left out of those old AFL pioneers! RIP Mr. Adams.

  48. titansbro says: Oct 21, 2013 4:18 PM

    Ah that’s too bad. Thanks for the Titans though. I hope the family he left the team to cares as much about it as he did. I read that he had a 27 year old grandson working for the team they might get it. Lucky kid if so.

  49. billsboy88 says: Oct 21, 2013 4:41 PM

    I will never understand why he decided to give the Bills the finger that one time. Bud was quite a character

  50. harrycanyon says: Oct 21, 2013 5:05 PM

    Not a good couple of days to be a 90yr old ex Houston Oiler. NFL wouldn’t be the same without legends like these guys who passed this week. They both deserve all the respect in the world.

  51. chocopoppy says: Oct 21, 2013 5:08 PM

    London Titans.

  52. titans12thman says: Oct 21, 2013 5:24 PM

    Forever an icon for the game of football. Original owner for one of the first AFL franchises. RIP Bud, if this isnt motivation for us to get it done this year I dont know what would be. Sad day for Oiler/Titan fans.

  53. i10east says: Oct 21, 2013 5:33 PM

    Very contrasting reactions on here then when Art Modell died, with Houston (unlike Cleveland) seemingly holding no ill will for moving the team.

  54. harrisonhits2 says: Oct 21, 2013 7:59 PM

    Loved it when he gave the double finger to the opposite sideline. The guy had a sense of humor and at least he wasn’t boring.

    RIP Mr Adams

  55. laserw says: Oct 21, 2013 8:49 PM

    Good riddance. You might have had value in your youth, but you were a pickled old bitter pimple of a man the longer you consumed oxygen.

  56. dodohead418 says: Oct 24, 2013 9:10 AM

    R.I.P Mr. Adams, but death happens and things move on lets hope if we choose Kenneth Adams IV that he is as successful like Mr. Adams was!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!