SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Bud Adams, the owner of the Tennessee Titans who helped establish the American Football League to compete with the NFL, has died at age 90.
“They called themselves and other people called them ‘the Foolish Club,'” John Madden told the KCBS Radio morning crew. “I was always grateful to them. And anytime I ever saw any one of those guys, I’d always thank them, because they started the AFL, and that gave a lot of coaches and players opportunities, including me. If it weren’t for those guys, you wouldn’t know what would happen to you.”
The Oakland was among the first teams in the AFL, founded in 1959 by two Texas oilmen, Adams and Lamar Hunt. Madden said the AFL team owners’ wealth allowed them to attract name players.
“Someone after the first season asked H.L. Hunt, who was Lamar Hunt’s dad, ‘What do you think? Your son starting this new league, he lost like a million dollars in his first year. What do you think of him losing that much money on this new league?’ H.L. Hunt said, ‘Well, at that pace, he can only go another hundred years.’ And I really thought that that’s what said ‘okay, this is an all day sucker, and we’re here to stay.'” The AFL merged with the NFL in 1970. (6:45)