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     Bud Adams was one of the original members of the "Foolish Club", eight men whose vision created the American Football League.  He helped establish the league by fighting and winning the battle with the NFL for LSU's All-American Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon.  His franchise, the Houston Oilers, appeared in four AFL championship games, including the first three, becoming the league's first champions in 1960, repeating in 1961, and losing the third championship game only after the classic 1962 double-overtime battle against the Dallas Texans.  He also was in the minority of AFL owners who believed that the American Football League should not merge with the NFL, as the AFL was turning the tide in the football wars; in the draft, in signings, and fan support.  With Lamar Hunt, Ralph Wilson, and Billy Sullivan, he was one of only four men who owned an AFL team for the entire ten years of the league's existence.

    Unfortunately, Adams rejected that great heritage when he not only moved the franchise to Tennessee, he insisted that the NFL prevent Houston or any other city from using the name "Oilers" for its football franchise.  The NFL-oriented media made a big thing of Cleveland's loss and the eventual return of the Browns, and the fact that the franchise in Baltimore had to use a name other than "Browns".  But they made nothing of the fact that the city that hosted the AFL's first two champions lost its team, and its team's name. 

Thus, unlike the citizens of Cleveland, who got to keep their team's history even after it left town, the fans of the AFL's first champions were deprived of their proud tradition.  For that, though he is deservedly a member of the American Football League Hall of Fame, Bud Adams is also  included in the "AFL Hall of Infamy".

Paul Brown PFRA

Tex Maule


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