Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  By GREG POGUE  |  Last updated 10/21/13
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Kenneth Stanley 'Bud' Adams Jr. peacefully passed away Monday morning in his beloved hometown of Houston, Texas. As co-founder of the American Football League in 1960 and original owner of the Houston Oilers, Bud Adams was a self-made billionaire who epitomized the stereotype of Texas oilmen. He was also on the ground floor of the 1970 merger between the AFL and National Football League, while contributing to the NFL's subsequent growth for 40-plus years. Love him or hate him and there were plenty on both sides of that spectrum over the years Adams was a man's man. And he didn't hesitate to move the Oilers here in 1997, eventually becoming the Tennessee Titans, when a new stadium deal in Houston could not be reached. "Bud Adams played a pivotal role in the growth of pro football, as a pioneer and innovator," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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." The myriad of Adams' far-ranging business successes laid the foundation for allowing him to grow and enjoy what he loved most being the only OilersTitans owner for a franchise that launched in 1960, leading up to his death at age 90. "His commitment to the best interests of the game and league was unwavering," said Goodell. "The team's impact in community relations and philanthropy set a standard for the NFL. Bud was truly a gift to the NFL." Because of his longevity and the team's consistent success through the years, the franchise had accumulated 409 victories, making him the winningest current NFL owner at the time of his death. Over the years, the OilersTitans earned 21 playoff berths in 53 seasons, ranking eighth among NFL teams since 1960. The Oilers won the first two AFL titles in 1960-61 and went to consecutive AFC title games in 1978-79 during the Luv Ya Blue days that featured star running back Earl Campbell and head coach Bum Phillips, who died Friday. But Adams' crowning moment came during the 1999 season, when Tennessee reached the franchise's first and only Super Bowl appearance losing to St. Louis in the final minutes. "I'm extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Bud Adams," St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said on Monday. Fisher coached the Titans for 17 seasons (1994-2010) and guided the franchise Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta. "Mr. Adams gave me my first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL," Fisher added, "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 ownercoach relationship that we shared for many years. He was a pioneer in the football business." Adams was also a pioneer in businesses other than oil and football. He owned companies that included tank truck transportation of liquid chemicals, oil and gas exploration and production, extensive farming and ranching in California and Texas, cattle feeding, real estate, automobile dealerships and leasing. Adams was also known as an eccentric, too. Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon, who played for the Oilers from 1984-93, remembers a visit to Adams' office during some tense contract negotiations. "Mr. Adams had this tall office building," Moon recalled on Monday, via teleconference, "but his office was in the basement. There was this stream of water and a bridge and all these artifacts and things I had never seen before.
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