To a younger fan like me, Bud Adams will always be the guy who gave Buffalo Bills fans the finger in a hilarious 2009 incident. But to NFL owners, Adams was a candid and funny man whose wealth helped the AFL weather its difficult early years, and an important diplomatic figure in sheperding the AFL/NFL merger that created the National Football League that we know today.
"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement acknowledging the death of Bud Adams. "He was a brilliant entrepreneur with a terrific sense of humor that helped lighten many a tense meeting."
We know that K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. had a terrific sense of humor from the time he gave the finger to Bills fans during a Bills-Titans game in Tennessee in 2009. Hell, if I were an NFL owner I would do that at every home game! (Adams was fined $250,000 by the NFL for the incident.)
Adams was born in 1923 into a wealthy oil family, and played quarterback for the Kansas Jayhawks in the early 1940s. He went on to help found the AFL in 1959, and the AFL merged with the NFL in 1970. Adams moved the Houston Oilers in 1997, when they became the Tennessee Oilers, and then the Tennessee Titans.
Adams is survived by his grandson Kenneth (who will likely take ownership of the team) plus six other granddchildren, and two daughters Susie Smith and Amy Strunk.