Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams dies at 90

Story highlights

Adams co-founded American Football League in 1959

He founded the Houston Oilers, which began play in the AFL in 1960

In 1997, Adams moved the team to Tennessee, where it became the Titans

CNN —  

K.S. “Bud” Adams Jr., the founder and owner of the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers football franchise and a co-founder of the American Football League, died Monday morning at his home in Houston, the team said.

He was 90.

Adams owned the team for more than 53 years, starting in Houston, where his Oilers began play in 1960 as a charter member of the NFL’s new competitor, the AFL.

Adams, an oil company founder, teamed with other businessmen, including eventual Dallas Texans and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, to form the eight-team AFL in 1959. The Oilers won two AFL championships before the league merged with the NFL in 1970.

The Oilers franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997, eventually settling in Nashville as the Tennessee Titans.

His franchise reached the Super Bowl once during his stewardship: in January 2000, when the Titans lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams.

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Adams’ death came three days after “Bum” Phillips, the man Adams employed as Oilers coach and general manager from 1975 to 1980, died at age 90.

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, who was the Oilers’ and Titans’ coach from 1994 to 2010, said Monday that he was “extremely saddened” to hear of Adams’ death.

“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,” Fisher said in a statement released by the Rams.

CNN’s Jillian Martin and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.