Bud Adams talks with Bob Allen

May 14, 2009 5:16:30 PM PDT
When he moved the Houston Oilers to Tennessee, Bud Adams became one of the most disliked figures in Houston sports. [SPORTS BLOG: Read the latest from the Eyewitness Sports team]

At 86, Bud Adams is giving us a glimpse of a different man, one who misses the woman who stood by him for more than six decades.

Some have asked me why I would include Bud Adams in a series about catching up with Houston sports legends. Well, here's why: Adams brought pro football to Houston and his presence, positively or negatively, had a huge impact on the Houston sports landscape.

We visited with Bud Adams to hear him in his own words.

One of the most controversial figures in Houston sports history, K.S. 'Bud' Adams Jr. was one of the founders of the American Football League in 1959. He owned the Oilers and has made himself a very wealthy man in a variety of businesses.

When Adams moved the Oilers to Tennessee in 1997, he was one of the most reviled people in Houston. Now it's 12 years later, Houston has another team and a new stadium, and at 86, Adams is still very much a Houstonian.

I met with Adams in his huge, memorabilia and art-filled offices at Adams Resources.

When I asked him Adams if it bothers him personally that he's not more beloved in this city, Adams replied, "Well, that's a hard question to answer. I think the city is happy they have a football team here now."

I pressed him a bit more, asking him if he would have liked to have been more popular here and Adams said, "Well, yes I would, but I just didn't think it was going to work out here."

The Oilers became the Tennessee Titans because Adams couldn't get a new stadium build here. Some thought he was bluffing when he threatened to move the team since he had done it before. However, this time he pulled the trigger.

Adams got a new stadium in Nashville and the Titans are successful, but he sort of had one regret.

"In the long run, I wish I would have stayed here and it would've worked out because we ever intend to move from here," said Adams.

Personally, I think Adams would have been more accepted and liked here had he been able to express himself more clearly since he is not the most eloquent man in the world.

At 86, he lives alone in the same River Oaks home he and his late wife Nancy shared since 1954. Nancy passed away from a stroke back in February.

"We had been married 62 years, but we had another five years that we went together," said Adams. "I found myself waking up in the middle of the night asking, 'Is it too cold for you?' and I would think oh my god, Bud, she's not here."

Adams went on about his wife, saying, "When you've been together for all these years, you still kind of take her with you. I guess that will go on for awhile."

Back in the day, I ripped Bud as much as any media person, but what's done is done. He made his mistakes and Houston decision makers made their mistakes. NFL football is back in town and we move on and look ahead.

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